Official Travel and Tour companies mandated by government to airlift football fans to Brazil; Kenpong Travel and Tour and African Origin Travels & Sports Tourism have together jumped on the bandwagon, calling on the recently demoted Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah and the handlers of the national team to render a detailed account to the nation.
The two Travel & Tour companies seem to have had enough of the falsehoods being peddled around by some government officials regarding the alleged maltreatment of the supporters who were airlifted to cheer up the Black Stars, before the elimination of the team in the ongoing FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Following the fiasco of the players to qualify to the Round of 16 in the World Cup, Ghanaians have chided the Football administration over its poor organization.
The Chief Executive of Kenpong Travel & Tours, Mr. Kennedy Agyapong in an interview with host of Peace FM's flagship programme “Kokrokoo”, accused Hon. Elvis Ankrah of usurping the mandate of the Travel & Tours to organize activities relating to the sponsorship of supporters to Brazil.
According to him, after airlifting 270 passengers to Brazil on the ticket of government, the former Minister arrogated to himself some organizational responsibilities regarding the sponsorship of the supporters to the World Cup.
He therefore ascribed the poor organization for the supporters in Brazil to the behaviour of the former Minister.
Also addressing the issue on Peace FM, the Director of Finance in charge of arrangements for Kenpong Travel & Tours, Mr. George Amoako, explained that though government authorized them to fly the supporters to Brazil, organize internal transportations and also ensure better accommodation for them, at the last minute, they were asked to only concentrate on just transporting the 270 passengers to Brazil.
"...a lot of the arrangements were cancelled…the accommodation for the passengers. It was cancelled and the Ministry said they were going to accommodate the passengers themselves. The arrangement we made for the accommodation were cancelled,” he revealed.
He further disclosed that the agency received "not even a penny" to undertake its responsibilities, adding that it was at the last minute, that they met as Committee to find money to do the internal transportation for the supporters because “there was no money to enable us keep to our schedules…At the latter stages in our discussions, they took the accommodation out of the deal.”
He disclosed that the Ministry is indebted to the agency and therefore prayed it remits the debt.
About 3 million dollars, he said, was budgeted to cater for the supporters but plans changed when they reached Brazil.
Asked by the host if they (Travel and Tour agencies) were to pre-finance the trip in the agreement with the ministry, George Amoako replied in the negative.
"...nobody said he was going to pre-finance 3 million dollars before we get paid. Nobody said that; how are we going to find 3 million dollars to pre-finance this?” he quizzed.
Mr. Kennedy Agyapong, who was not in his usual cool element, expressed disappointment in Hon. Elvis Ankrah for refusing to amicably resolve the conflict. To him, the Minister must be held personally liable for the Brazil fiasco.
"For almost one and half months to two months, he (Elvis) refused to answer my phone calls and gave excuses of being busy. Kwadwo Adu-Asare, a member of the committee instituted by the ministry and other committee members all refused to answer our phone calls.
“When you call him, he won’t pick up. If you call Adu Asare, he also does not pick up. If you call anybody, they won’t answer the phone. Even one pesewa has not been given to us and even tickets that we issued to them for their own arrangements in Brazil, about $52000, they’ve not paid. Whenever we call them, they’re busy. So, they took over the job and that is why we have such financial misappropriation.”
Africa Origin’s Anger
Also reacting to the hullabaloo surrounding the alleged financial misappropriation by the Minister and the handlers of the senior team, the Chief Executive Officer of the African Travel & Tours, Mr. Sampson Deen revealed that upon reaching Brazil, Hon. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah blacklisted him and his company from any further discussions regarding the wellbeing of the supporters, hence taking over their job.
According to him, the Minister constituted a makeshift committee in Brazil and this committee was given an oversight responsibility relating to the World Cup.
“It was on June 4th that we met to discuss Brazil 2014 all over again. We revisited everything all over again…They have overburdened us with huge debts.
To him, the Minister and his cohorts infringed on the rights of the Travel & Tours to provide better accommodation services and also cater for internal flights for the supporters.
The obviously outraged Chief Executive accused the immediate past Youth and Sports Minister, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah of heaping huge debts on the Travel & Tours agencies which were accredited by government to airlift supporters to Brazil.
He added that he forewarned the Minister and his people of the implications of their actions but they refused to heed his advice.
He blamed them for the financial misappropriation that is reported to have occurred at the World Cup.
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