Anas Aremeyaw Anas Reports, Accra, Ghana
Part with a part-payment of 5 percent and present your passport to be processed for a visa, probably too pretentious but actually possible at the National Sports Authority (NSA). The practice of parading paying passengers as players and athletes and preparing the appropriate papers to secure visas prevails at the premises.
“…The truth is, they wanted all the money; the $5000…people would take the visa and they don’t pay. So at least the least should be One thousand US dollars ($1000) deposit, then you pay the registration that is One thousand, five hundred Ghana cedis (GHS1500), then, we get it done for you then you come and pay [the rest]”. These are the words of Patrick Agorzor outlining the processes Tiger would have to go through if he wanted to travel abroad as part of an official sports delegation.
Patrick Agorzor is a Protocol officer at the National Sports Authority responsible for arranging travels for government officials and athletes to tournaments in and outside the country. He was secretly filmed accepting a sum of GHS1000 cash from Tiger as “registration fee” to help Tiger travel to Germany.
Tiger met Patrick Agorzor at his office at the National Sports Authority on Thursday 22nd March 2018. The meeting was to discuss the processes tiger had to go through and the monies he had to pay in order to successfully travel to Europe, Germany, to be precise.
The discussion got to a point where Tiger was charged an amount of $5000 which was later reduced to $4000 for the sake of a Tiger team member who is “a brother”. “If not (Tiger team member) being your brother, the truth is that Schengen can do as much as $5000 because it is difficult but we can be looking at $4000.”
Patrick Agorzor told Tiger that the actual trip is to Australia but as Tiger’s interest was in Germany, he (Patrick) would secure him a visa to France from where he can enter Germany. The reason why Patrick was suggesting Australia is because the Commonwealth Games were scheduled to take place from 4th April to 15th April 2018 in the Australian city of Gold coast.
“They have started travelling… people started training for Australian entry. The first group comprises of the Athletes, some of the officials and the rest of the game you are free to go.” Patrick Agorzor said.
Visa Racket Scandals
Sports tournaments have become the new avenue that economic migrants from Ghana use to seek greener pastures abroad. They go for a tournament and then they abscond from official hotels and sports villages. A case in point was at the 2014 world cup tournament in Brazil that witnessed the disappearance of two hundred (200) Ghanaians who later sought or requested for asylum.
The Brazilian federal police said this to BBC on 11th July 2014. However, Ghana’s former Sports Minister, Mahama Ayariga told the BBC he doubted that those who had requested asylum were believed to be part of the official group of 650 fans sent to Brazil to support the national team.
Because of the many incidences of sports fans and athletes not returning to Ghana after international tournaments, it has made visa acquisition for genuine fans and athletes very difficult.
In March 2017, it was reported that the intellectually disabled athletes of Ghana were denied visas to Austria. After hard training and workout for almost three months, feverishly preparing for the March 14-25 Games, their hopes of participating in the Floorball competition of the Games were surge after the Dutch Embassy, which represents the Austrian government in Ghana, denied them entry visas on the grounds that the athletes would not return to Ghana after the competition.
Another case in point was when in July 2014, many football fans from Ghana were denied visas to cheer on the women’s team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. Graphic Sports reported, “The Canadian High Commission was alarmed over the reported case of some Ghanaian fans who travelled to Brazil to watch the just-ended FIFA World Cup but later applied for asylum in Brazil after the tournament.”
And in April this year, 50 Ghanaians who tried to gain entry to Australia under the guise of covering the Commonwealth Games as journalists were caught out when they were unable to answer questions about sport.
The deportees, although in possession of genuine traveling documents, were arrested and detained after they failed to answer the sports-related questions which they should ordinarily be familiar with.
Both the Sports ministry and the National Sports Authority have denied any involvement in the scandal.
The denial came after one of the deportees told Ghana-based radio station, Atinka FM that officials of the Ghana Olympics Sports Committee and the Ministry of Sports were paid between $2,000 and $5,000 (£1,400 – £3,550) to have their visas processed as journalists for the Games.
Stay tuned, more to come…