On December 7, 2010, officials of the Economic & Organized Crime Office (EOCO) descended on the premises of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) as if to re-enact the Entebbe Raid (used advisedly) and confiscated nine (9) computers and some documents which according to them was very instrumental in their investigation over alleged financial malfeasance by officials of the GFA regarding sponsorship deals but which they (GFA) had willfully failed to provide despite numerous requests.
The legality of the raid has well been questioned and the law courts has ruled against EOCO stating they did not have the legal mandate to conduct the raid but that’s not the prime essence of this piece. It’s been six months and counting and still no word yet as to what has transpired or when the Ghanaian sporting public should expect some information on the probe. This piece is also not intended to put undue pressure on EOCO to unnecessarily speed up the process but just to remind them that some of us are well wide eyed with vested interest in the outcome of the investigations.
Obviously EOCO as an institution has its own set of rules and regulations or modus operandi and thus expect them to operate within the confines of their working orders. Silence, they say, is golden but it must also be noted that too much silence breeds over anxiety. The soccer loving fans of Ghana are longing for answers and yearning for a change in culture whereby probes no longer get hijacked and swept under the carpet. These have become too commonplace in our history thus the interest in this investigation and a commitment to ensuring there’s no rolling back the hands of time over the progress made in our favorite pastime. So here are a few questions we would like to pose to the EOCO:
(i)Since the courts have ruled against the illegality of its mandate to conduct the raid and awarded GFA monetary damages does that result in the cessation of the investigation?
(ii)If no then when should we expect some information on the outcome of the investigations? At least if we have the slightest idea of the timeframe it will calm our fears and anxieties somewhat.
(iii)Are the GFA computers and documents still in the possession of EOCO? If no then it presupposes that EOCO has gotten all the necessary information so why the wait to inform the public. If yes then can anyone fathom the kind of logistical deprivation the GFA is enduring! I wonder how many computers the GFA has in the first place much more to have 9 of them confiscated over such an extensive period of time.
If the purpose of the raid was to flex its muscles in the public domain only to recoil into docility then please don’t waste our time in the future. If on the other hand anyone or persons in EOCO involved in this investigation have received some hush money to let this issue die a ‘natural death’ then shame on them because they’re doing a great disservice to the nation by putting their parochial interest at the expense of the nation’s soccer welfare.
To the GFA the fact that EOCO is being lambasted over the illegality of their mandate to conduct the raid and damages awarded you should not be touted as a worthwhile victory in itself. It is to this end that I was beside myself to read in a news article on ghanaweb dated 13/05/2011 captioned “Court: EOCO raid on GFA illegal, fined Gh 50,000” which stated in part and I quote verbatim that “Mr. Thaddeus Sory, legal counsel of the Football Association, told Citi News that his clients welcomed the ruling. He described the ruling as proof that the GFA did nothing wrong”.
Wow!!!! What intellectual dishonesty and naivety!!! Please Mr. Sory don’t be fooled into thinking you’re dealing with an uneducated readership. This is tantamount to disrespect and you should apologize to the reading public for trying to throw dust into our eyes. What has the ruling on the legality or illegality of EOCO’s mandate got to do with the cardinal issue at stake which is the alleged malfeasance by GFA officials? This is just like saying that because a judge ruled in a pretrial that a piece of evidence is not admissible in court it means your client is not guilty of the alleged crime. Come on, man!!! You know better so stop mixing oranges with apples and stop dishonoring your profession and your client the GFA.
Perception goes a long way in making or unmaking a person, organization or a people and thus behoves on the GFA to work assiduously towards improving its image. We need a body of dedicated and committed officials who have Ghana soccer at heart and will go all lengths devoid of any material or financial interest to see us at the top and your legacies will forever be entrenched in heart of our memories. Long Live Ghana Soccer!!!
Source: Carl Owusu-Barnes
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