The Ghana Olympic Committee spent a whopping ¢759,641.96 ($220,667.65) on travels, per diems, visa fees in 2018, the annual reports and financial statements of the GOC ending 31st December, 2018 reveals.
But the financial statement also reveals the GOC received an amount of ¢813,047 as travel grant from the Commonwealth Games Federation for Ghana’s participation in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games but failed to disclose it to government and also failed to use the funds for its intended purpose The leader of delegation for Ghana’s team to the 2018 Commonwealth Games Mohammed Sahnoon confirmed in his report that “All travel arrangements were carried out by the MOYS/NSA.”
An official of the GOC described the $220,667.65 travel expenditure as extremely “excessive.” The 2018 expenditure represents more than a 100% increase over the ¢299,795.72 ($185,681.19) recorded for the financial accounting year in 2017.
Meanwhile, a further probing of the accounts reveals the true extent of expenditure and payments made to travel and tour companies, officials and individuals for various assignments. Interestingly, the single individual to have benefitted the most from the travels and per diem allowances is the President of the GOC Ben Nunoo Mensah with a total expenditure of about $13,904 or ¢64,434.2 in 2018.
The single most expensive ticket in the 2018 account was recorded in the name of the GOC President by Travel Places (a travel and tour company) for a trip from Accra to Tokyo at a cost of ¢40,000 ($8,623.00) on 12th January, 2018.
Another ticket was also issued in the name of the GOC capo by Travel Places on 10th January, 2018 at a cost of ¢6,456.50 ($1,396.). The ‘Transactions by Account’ as of December 31st, 2018 reveals two massive expenditures on air tickets totaling over ¢500,000.00. On 4th January, 2018, Josh Travel and Tour invoiced the GOC with a receipt worth ¢349,807.50 ($77,735).
Again on 8th January, 2018, Travel Places, another travel and tour company, invoiced the GOC for tickets this time at a cost of ¢200,629.94($44,143). However on 11th January, 2018, a total amount of $3,105(¢14,438.25) was recorded as “PER DIEM for BEN NUNOO, PAUL ATCHOE AND EVANS YEBOAH.”
The second most expensive ticket of ¢22,500 stands in the name of Jerry Ahmed Shaib which was also issued by Travel Places; Air ticket for Richmond Quarcoo of ¢9,798 by Josh Travel & Tours and per diem of $1,000; Air ticket for the GOC Secretary General, GOC 1ST Vice and Project Officer totaling $4,345.65; Ticket for Mr. Albert Frimpong at a cost of $4,936 and Per diem for Albert Kyei CDM Meeting-Algiers at $500.
The Income and Expenditure Account of the GOC for the year ended 31st December 2018 shows a healthy ¢144,777 surplus for the financial year, a decrease over the ¢449,978 surplus recorded in 2017. The audit was carried out by Harold Richardson Consult and the report presented to the General Assembly of the GOC in July, 2019. The last General Assembly prior to this meeting was in March, 2017.
The issue of excessive foreign travels has been a subject of heated debates at the GOC’s General Assemblies for a while now. As a former Treasurer of the GOC under the erstwhile Prof. Francis Dodoo administration, Ben Nunoo Mensah was known as a staunch critic of travels by the then GOC President and Secretary General.
After resigning from his position in 2014, Mr. Mensah consistently questioned travel expenditures and asked for accountability at different congresses of the GOC. In a related development, the GOC has budgeted ¢120,000 for its travels in the year 2020, a significant decrease over the amount spent in 2018.