…Accreditation Officer Accuses GOC Of Direct Cover Up In Australia Visa Scandal
The Ghana Olympic Committee’s accreditation officer, Hussein Addy, has accused the GOC and its president, Ben Nunoo Mensah, of suspending him at the 2018 Commonwealth Games to divert attention and cover up the latter’s role in the deportation of some 60 fake journalists in the infamous “Australia Visa scandal” last year.
In a revealing 7-page letter dated 16th October, 2018, and addressed to the GOC’s Secretary General, Richard Akpokavie, in response to summons to appear before the GOC’s disciplinary sub-committee which was then investigating the Australia visa scandal, Mr. Addy insisted that the GOC was directly involved in the media accreditation process for the games and only sought to use him as a scape goat by suspending him.
“Upon arrival in Australia, what action did he (GOC President Ben Nunoo Mensah) take in respect of the journalists matter and could his denial of the GOC’s involvement explain why he deliberately decided to focus on the so call administrative misconduct on our part with the view to divert attention and to cover up the GOC’s role in the media saga,” Hussein wrote.
In his letter, he questioned the GOC’s motive for issuing introductory letters to illegitimate people to acquire visas for the games. “What was the motive of the GOC in issuing letters of introduction to several other “journalists” to facilitate their visa acquisition ostensibly to travel to Australia to cover the games when indeed, the GOC was fully aware that the only way for a journalist to be accredited was through the online media portal,” Hussein wrote.
Hussein and another official, Christiana Ashley, were suspended for their alleged complicity in the scandal as the GOC leadership began investigations into circumstances that led to some 60 Ghanaians who were detained and deported by the Australian immigration authorities for posing illegitimately as journalists, athletes and officials.
Hussein Addy, who was also Secretary General of Ghana Weightlifting Association (GWA), had enjoyed a 4-year healthy relationship with Ben Nunoo Mensah, who interestingly doubled as President of the GWA before the scandal. Christiana Ashley was the Secretary General of the Ghana Volleyball Association and a special assistant to the GOC President back then.
Pleading his innocence, Hussein said the GOC based its decision to suspend him on a false assumption. “I believe this was done deliberately to conceal the GOC’s involvement in the media accreditation process and for that matter the journalists’ saga,” he noted.
But Hussein Addy provided email trails (8th January, 2018) which showed the involvement of GOC President Ben Nunoo Mensah and Chef de Mission Mohammed Sahnoon in the media accreditation process for the Commonwealth Games.
The emails showed how Hussein Addy had forwarded a request for media accreditation by two Ghanaian media house to the Chef de Mission, Mr. Mohammed Sahnoon, who subsequently sent same to the GOC President who also asked the opinion of the Press Officer of the GOC. In the final conclusion, one of the media outlets Ada Community Online was successful while the Ghanaian Democrat was not successful.
Meanwhile, minutes of GOC Emergency Committee meeting held on 23rd April, 2018 reveals that the Board agreed, “It was not in the interest of the GOC to deny knowledge of the media accreditation since our media personnel were involved and somehow validated the process.”
It is believed that many of the latter group of “journalists” who were given introductory letters by the GOC were part of the over 60 “fake” ineligible journalists who were detained and deported from Australia.
According to sources, some of these people were masons, hairdressers, local businessmen, amongst others. Under pressure from the public, the GOC had released 70 names of journalists accredited for the Commonwealth Games Gold Coast 2018 on 17th April, 2018. But the number fell short of the 90 the GOC’s Press Attaché, Ken Adade had mentioned in a video on the GOC’s YouTube page.