World Cup Project Co-ordinator admits committees failed

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The Project Co-ordinator of Ghana's 2014 World Cup campaign

Secretariat, Fred Darko, yesterday admitted to the Presidential

Commission that the subcommittees collectively failed in their


He made the acknowledgement while testifying on his second appearance

after it emerged that even the three tour operators contracted to fly

supporters to Brazil were not tied to any legal contract.

"There was no formal contract with the travel and tour operators," he

said in response to a question by the chairman of the commission,

Justice Senyo Dzamefe.

Wednesday's sitting started an hour late to enable technicians to

connect power from the stadium generator in order to forestall the

situation which resulted in power failure disrupting proceedings the

previous day.

Presidential ball

Mr Darko, who is also the chief executive Officer of Evolution

International, while answering questions on the Presidential Ball,

disclosed that a little over GH¢500,000 was realised from that event

as part of their fundraising drive, but noted that it cost them

GH¢37,665,441 to organise it.

"Why such a huge expenditure on Presidential Ball," enquired Justice

Dzamefe. In response, the project co-ordinator explained that the

organisers engaged the services of Labadi Beach Hotel for catering

services, as well as the provision of drinks and other services

because it was a high-profile event which had the President and his

vice in attendance.

He also said providing costumes to the players and the technical team

also contributed to the huge bill.

Promotion flop

Mr Darko explained that a point the organising committee had to

withdraw radio commercials for the 'Fanatic Promotion' because

expected revenues were not forthcoming, complaining also about how MTN

had dwarfed their campaign despite an earlier agreement that none of

the country's telecommunications companies should run any such


Following that disclosure, Justice Dzamefe asked if they had signed

any documents to that effect, to which the witness responded in the


But he added that the campaign generated a total of GH¢224,902.00 out

of which the Ministry of Youth and Sports expected to receive


Akosombo retreat

He also said as part of their preparations the organising committee

spent two nights at Akosombo "to brainstorm and to realign with their

plans" where they also held discussions with the travel and tour

operators and officials of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

The witness said it was during those deliberations that the travel and

tour operators decided to form a consortium to lift supporters to


Again, based on the meeting, the organising committee developed a

manifest for each of the travel and tour operators with Kenpong Travel

and Tours, and Africa Travel and Sports Tourism expected to fly 270

fans each, while Travel Matters was given 160 fans.

Non-payment of travel and tour operators

It emerged that because the organisers did not pay the travel and tour

operators, Travel Matters, which chartered the aircraft to Brazil,

decided to put 70 of its passengers on the plane. This development, Mr

Darko said, was the genesis of the confusion at the Kotoka

International Airport.

But the chairman intervened saying that since Travel Matters were not

pinned by any contract they were not obliged to carry the supporters.

"In fact, they did you a favour by lifting your supporters to Brazil,"

Justice Dzamefe added.

Mission at Brazil

The witness said he left with the first batch of supporters to Brazil

because he had to redeem match tickets at the FIFA tickets centre for

the supporters.

Mr Darko said it was in Brazil that he heard about reports from Ghana

suggesting were that supporters starving while others were sleeping on

the floor.

"I then visited the camp to ascertain what was happening in camp," he

said, and noted that to his surprise what pertained on the ground was

contrary to the negative picture painted by the media reports.

Carryng of cash to Brazil

The project co-ordinator said he signed for and carried some cash to

Brazil, but when asked how much he took, he responded, "My Lord, it

was a little over $100,000 but I cannot readily recall the exact

figure unless I check with the ministry."

But when he was alerted that he risked committing purjury his counsel,

Alex Abban, intervened pleading with the chairman to adjourn the

sitting to enable his client to go and refresh his memory.

Hearing continues today, with Mr Darko continuing with his testimony.

uniBank, officials of the Black Stars, and the tour operators are also

expected to testify today.

[Credit: Graphic Online]

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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