Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, was allegedly aware of Ghana’s “blotted“ list months before the infamous deportation of some 60 Ghanaians at the 21st Commonwealth Games Gold Coast 2018, an exhibit in a report presented by the sub-committee of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) suggests.
The blotted list was made up of names of fake beach volleyball players and officials; five of whom were eventually deported for trying to enter Australia by false pretenses. It also included two names of the sons of the First Vice President of the GOC Paul Atchoe, a brother of the GOC Deputy Treasurer Theophilus Edzie, among others.
Marked “Exhibit 5”in the committee’s report, the third Vice President of the GOC sought to question the inclusion of certain names on the list as far back as January, 2018-two clear months before the scandal broke in Australia.
Mr. Hadzide, who was the then Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports and chairman of the International Games Committee, was allegedly made aware of the “blotted” list in January 2018 when he led a recce team to plan Ghana’s pre games activities in Australia.
The Deputy Information Minister is also accused of adding 12 names to Ghana’s list for the Games, according to the Ghana Olympic Committee. (Minutes from GOC Emergency Committee Meeting, 23rd April, 2018).
In a memo to the Ghanaian Presidency on April 12, 2018, which led to the initial suspensions of three senior government officials, the substantive Minister of Youth and Sports Isaac Asiamah wrote: “The Deputy Minister denied any wrongdoing on his part although many of those deported have implicated him. It is rather sad that members of the NPP
, who have been entrusted with the responsibility of serving
the nation, should put their parochial interests above that of the nation.”
Four Ghanaian officials undertook the recce trip to Australia from 19th January to 30th January, 2018 including the then Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Pius Enam, GOC Third Vice President Evans Yeboah, the then Director General of the National Sports Authority Robert Sarfo Mensah and the Chef de Mission Mohammed Sahnoon.
Mr. Pius Enam Hadzide and the team received first-hand information about Ghana’s official list of athletes and officials for the Games which had then been submitted to the Local Organising Committee (GOLDOC) by the Ghana Olympic Committee.
A member of the recce team, Mr. Evans Yeboah-who is also the Third Vice President of the Ghana Olympic Committee and President of the Badminton Association of Ghana- raised objections about the inclusion of certain names on the list.
“I was the first person to raise an alarm over Ghana’s GC 2018 possible blotted list during the International Games Committee (IGC) Recce trip in January 19th-30th, 2018 with the Chef de Mission and did informed him that I have noticed Badminton has “Strange names” and as President of the Federation I explored with CDM, that I had not authorized any additional long list of athletes or officials apart from our allowed list of entry, and that some number of persons had been added to our Federation and we DO NOT KNOW THEM,” Evans Yeboah said in the letter to the Ghana Olympic Committee.
Mr. Yeboah revealed in his letter that his concerns were initially met with stiff resistance by the Accreditation Officer, Hussein Addy. Mr. Addy and Christian Ashley were eventually suspended after the story broke.
He added, “I was insulted, vilified and denigrated with unpalatable words by this same Accreditation officer (Hussein Addy) a copy of which I will share when we meet at our upcoming Board meeting.”
Meanwhile, in a separate letter addressing the concerns raised by Mr. Yeboah, Hussein Addy noted that the then Chairman of the International Games Committee (IGC), Pius Enam Hadzide had informed him about Evans’s concerns.
“The very first person to disclose this to me last week was the Chair of the IGC. My response was that he should ignore you claims and that he wishes, he can invite you to face me on that obvious untruth,” Hussein Addy wrote in a letter addressed to Mr. Evans Yeboah and others.
Mr. Yeboah further revealed that the Chef de Mission Mr. Mohammed Sahnoon had said he was going to “clean up” the list on or before 7th March, 2018 which was the deadline for the submission of the final list for the Games but failed to do so subsequently.
“The CDM(Mohammed Sahnoon), further informed me he will clean up the list on or before March 7th, 2018- which was the deadline for all final sport entries with GOLDOC and the GOC President also directed a clean-up of the list per what’s up instruction on (CWG What’s Platform) on February 2, 2018.”
But in an explosive GOC Emergency meeting held on 23rd April, 2018, the GOC President alleged that the accreditation officer Hussein Addy and Christine Ashley had made some admissions following initial investigations on 30th March, 2018 when the scandal first broke in Australia.
“That 12 names had also been added to the list as guests through the Deputy Minister with the consent of the CDM. That the President of Swimming and Secretary General of Para Sports Mr. Elletey had also added 14 and 25 names respectively,” Minutes of the GOC Emergency meeting read.
In an interesting twist to the tale, one of those alleged to have admitted that the then Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports had included 12 names to the list, Christine Ashley, blamed the GOC President for what she called false reportage.
“All the list we entered were submitted to us by presidents of the various federations or their secretaries and how would we know this is truly a player or not and so it’s certainly not our fault,” she told host Henry Asante Twum in an interview on Accra based Starr FM and published on www.starrsportsgh.com on 26th July, 2018.
“Even if we had done anything wrong, why didn’t they scrutinize the list before we went to Australia but decided to tarnish our image in Australia? But I, Christine Ashley, will blame GOC president Ben Nunoo Mensah because he started the whole process and gave false reportage to the media in Australia,” she argued.
In another twist to the story, a letter written by the GOC President questioned another GOC Board member Evans Yeboah in a letter saying: …Did you agree with the Deputy Minister for the MOYS to review the TSC of GC2018 to ensure that some party(NPP) doctors and others are added?…”
GOC First Vice President & Ghana Volleyball Association Paul Atchoe added two names of his sons to the GW2018 list. They were Martin Atchoe & Sampson Atchoe.
The entire list for Beach volleyball was made up of volleyball athletes and officials.
More importantly, the sub-committee found that some of the beach volleyball athletes and officials registered were not even aware of their registration on the list.
Despite overwhelming evidence against the then Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, the Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo announced the reinstatement of Pius Enam Hadzide to his position on 9th July, 2018.
Mr. Hadzide was subsequently appointed as the Deputy Minister of Information, a position he continues to occupy but the Presidency has yet to release the findings of the Criminal Investigations Department investigations which absolved Mr. Hadzide of any wrongdoing in the scandal.
Conspicuously missing from the list of reinstated officials was the then Acting Director General of the National Sports Authority Robert Sarfo Mensah who was caught on camera receiving ¢5,000 to “get a national u-17 player more playing time in the national team” in the Anas #12 expose on corruption in Ghana football. A subsequent press release by the NSA indicated its former boss had resigned.