Renowned sports journalist and now Director of Communications for the Ghana Olympics Committee (GOC), Charles Osei Assibey, appears unhappy with the constant reportage on the fake journalists scandal that has rocked Ghana’s participation in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, saying it is a distraction to Ghana’s competing athletes.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, he said the credibility of Olympic sports needed to be protected for the sake of sports in Ghana.
“I’m worried because this hullabaloo is going to take the shine off Hor Halutie. It is going to take the shine out of the beautiful performances even though we haven’t won a medal yet. I think the young talents who went out there did so well,” he said.
“I am not encouraging something that has gone wrong, but inasmuch as the presidency is investigating this matter, I would wish that corporate Ghana would not take their eyes off investing in sports. The truth of the matter is that football is suffering credibility issues. If the GOC also suffers credibility issues, then sports is doomed.”
Mr. Assibey was commenting on the suspension of the Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports, Pius Enam Hadzide, and the acting National Sports Authority (NSA) Director-General, Robert Sarfo Mensah over the matter, following investigations undertaken by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Three other officials from the ongoing games, namely GOC President, Ben Nunoo Mensah, NSA Board Chair Kojo Baah Agyeman and the Chef-de-Mason for the games, have been asked to return to Ghana immediately to assist in the ongoing investigations.
Aside from the CID probe, Mr. Assibey said the GOC also carried out some preliminary investigation into the matter, though he was unwilling to divulge any new information.
He simply said, “we are not happy with what we saw.”
Mr. Assibey had earlier pleaded with sponsors not to withdraw their support over the incident.
‘I did no wrong’
Meanwhile, the Deputy Sports Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, has said his hands are clean following the visa racketeering scandal that rocked Ghana’s participation in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
While welcoming his suspension on Accra-based Asempa FM, he said he will certainly be vindicated after the investigation.
“My understanding of the preliminary investigation does not mean that I have done anything wrong. If you ask who was in charge of the International Games Committee, I was the one, so for me that is enough basis for me to be asked to stand aside for investigations to commence,” he said in a Citi News interview.
Last week, it emerged that some 50 Ghanaians had been deported from Australia after they were deemed to be “non-genuine travelers” posing as journalists for the Commonwealth Games.
According to Australian authorities, although all the affected persons had the necessary accreditation, they were not convinced the reported persons were real journalists.
Following this, the government referred the case to the National Security for investigations to begin.
The Minority in Parliament, however, rejected this move, insisting that the scandal be probed by an independent commission of enquiry under article 278 of the Constitution of Ghana.
In the midst of the probe into the scandal, the office of the Deputy Secretary-General of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Rev. Richard Quarcoo, was ransacked by some unknown persons on Monday.
Citi Sports sources indicated that the office may have contained some documents relating to the saga that has rocked.