Two national athletes claim they did not receive the Commonwealth Games scholarships worth £5,000 each awarded them by the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) to prepare for the Games in Gold Coast 2018.
In separate interviews with national #1 female badminton player Grace Atipaka and decathlete Atsu Nyamadi , the duo were adamant they did not receive any money either from the Olympic governing body or their respective federations to prepare for the Games.
The two went on to represent the nation at the multi-sport event held in Australia nonetheless.
The GOC announced the award of scholarships to 7 national athletes on 17th November, 2017, with about five months to the Games. The news was published on several online portals including but not restricted to the official GOC website www.ghanaolympic.org.
According to the GOC’s Secretary General, the athletes included Emmanuel Dasor and Atsu Nyamadi, table tennis player Derek Abrefa, boxer Mohammed Azumah, badminton player Grace Atipaka, weightlifter Richmond Osarfo and para wheelchair athlete Felix Acheampong.
Back then, Akpokavie explained the process leading to the award of the scholarships and added that the initiative was “pursuant to applications received from the Federations in respect of the Commonwealth Games grant.”
He stressed that each athlete was entitled to the equivalent of a maximum of £5,000 for preparation towards the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
An email cited by this investigation indicates the GOC scribe wrote to the 6 beneficiary federations on 19th September, 2017 at 22:22GMT informing them of the 7 successful candidates.
Akpokavie also stated in that email:
“Federation Presidents should kindly apply for release of the funds indicating in writing what funds will be used for. Kindly take note that federations will be required to account fully (with receipts) for any funds released to them.”
He warned, “Please be advised that the money awarded is for the benefit of the athlete to assist in qualifying and or preparing for the Commonwealth Games.”
ATHLETES DENY PAYMENTS
Atsu Nyamadi, an African Games and All African Games medalist, was selected for the Games after meeting the Ghana Athletics Association’s qualification standards for the Games.
The US based athlete went on to represent Ghana in the athletics championships at the Games despite having not received any support from the GOC.
Asked whether he received his share of the scholarship by the GOC, Atsu Nyamadi responded via whatsapp and denied knowledge of the scholarship or payments of any kind from the GOC.
“I didn’t receive any funds to prepare towards the games,” he said, from his base in the USA on 28th October, 2020.
Meanwhile, badminton player Grace Atipaka told this investigation she first got to know about the scholarship through the initial online publications in November 2017 and her subsequent attempts to access the funds through the Badminton Association of Ghana’s President Evans Kojo Yeboah proved futile.
Grace added that the latest attempt by her parent club, Winneba Badminton Club, requesting information on the 2018 CWG scholarship from the Ghana Olympic Committee by a letter dated 8th September, 2020 has also failed to yield dividends as the GOC has failed to respond to the letter.
GAA, GOC & BAG responses
An official of the Ghana Athletics Association told this investigation the account details of the two athletes- Emmanuel Dasor and Atsu Nyamadi-were emailed to the GOC for the necessary payments to be made directly to them.
To that effect, the source exhibited an email from the GAA’s Secretary General Bawah Fuseini which was sent to the GOC on 17th November, 2017 pursuant to the earlier email by the GOC. The source added the GOC dealt directly with the athletes from then on.
Meanwhile, another source at the GOC told this investigation the 7 athletes concerned had all been sent their monies to aid their preparations for the Games, adding that the necessary paper trail should be found at the GOC Secretariat.
Despite speaking to the GOC’s Secretary General and subsequent reminders via whatsapp messaging and an email, the GOC has failed to officially respond to our inquiries.
Meanwhile, in a conversation with the Badminton Association of Ghana’s (BAG) President Evans Yeboah on the sidelines of a national badminton juniors event at the Accra Sports stadium on Tuesday, 27th October, 2020, the BAG President admitted the body had accessed the funds from the GOC on behalf of Grace Atipaka.
Evans, who doubles as the Third Vice President of the GOC, claimed the funds were used to defray costs associated with competitions Grace had taken part in from 2016 to 2018.
When this reporter pointed out to him, the scholarship was awarded in November, 2017, months to the Gold Coast games in April, 2018, Mr. Yeboah was adamant the athlete had benefitted from what he called ‘Commonwealth Games qualifying competitions’ the BAG had organised prior to the Australian games.
He further mentioned the ‘Thomas and Uber Cup’ competition which he claimed took place in 2018 before the games as one of the events the BAG spent the scholarship money on.
Asked how the BAG catered for the other team members at those competitions, he said it came through the body’s own accounts.
But the BAG is yet to formally respond to an email this reporter sent them on this matter to verify the truth or otherwise of claims made by Grace Atipaka and another player Daniel Sam.
It can be recalled the GOC last held its annual general meeting on 27th July, 2019 where the audited accounts for the years 2017 and 2018 were read and approved by congress.
Therefore the expenditure on the Commonwealth Games scholarships have seemingly already been accounted for with receipts seemingly provided by the six federations.
The GOC is also expected to have accounted for the use of the scholarship funds to the Commonwealth Games Federation who provided the funds in the first place.
Ghana’s participation in the 2018 Commonwealth Games was overshadowed by a huge visa scandal which resulted in the deportation of some 120 Ghanaian “journalists” who attempted to enter Australia by false pretenses, according to various sources.
A GOC investigative committee chaired by now Supreme Court judge Justice Amadu Tanko, who investigated the matter, summed up its findings by saying:
“The Committee finds that visa racketeering through fraudulent representation for either financial gain or nepotistic motives is endemic, condoned and facilitated at the highest level of the GOC and the NSA (National Sports Authority).
The Committee also alleged in its report that the GOC President Ben Nunoo Mensah had disrupted its work through acts of “intimidation, threatening and
To be continued…….