Visa racketeering scandal: "I'm innocent"- Suspended NSA boss claims

Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com|Nathan Gadugah
Date: 12th-april-2018 Time:  6:54:25 pm

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Suspended Acting Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA) is pleading innocence in a visa racketeering scandal that has left the Deputy Sports Minister Pius Enam Hadzide also suspended and two other workers of NSA sacked.

Robert Sarfo Mensah told Joy News he was as fair and professional as possible in carrying out his duties as acting NSA Director General.

“I believe I am innocent… I have no regrets, he said, adding, “my only regret is the performance of the athletes.”

Mr Mensah was suspended together with the Deputy Sports Minister for their roles in the visa racketeering scandal that has left the country embarrassed.

At least 60 Ghanaians were issued visas with fake identities but were arrested and deported in Australia, venue for the ongoing Commonwealth Games.

The 60 were said to have gone under the cloak of being journalists when they were not.

It is not clear yet who facilitated their documents to be issued with visas even though some officials from the Sports Ministry and the NSA were fingered.

Pius Enam Hadzide

Before the suspension of the Director General and the Deputy Minister, two officials of the NSA had been sacked in connection with the incident.

According to a statement from the presidency, the decision to suspend the officers was taken after the president received a report from a preliminary investigation into the circumstances surrounding the scandal.

The statement announcing the suspension of Mr Sarfo Mensah and Pius Enam Hadzide also announced the recall of the Board Chair of the NSA, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang and the Chef-de-Maison for the Commonwealth Mr Mohammed Sahnoon both of whom were in the games village in Australia.

They are to assist with investigations into the visa racketeering scandal.

Robert Sarfo Mensah told Evans Mensah on Joy News he was impressed by the president’s show of respect even in his decision to suspend him.

According to him, the president invited him to the Jubilee House communicated the decision to suspend him even before releasing the statement.

He said the president did not categorically say the reason why he was suspending him, except to clarify that as part of his campaign promise to fight corruption, it was important for him to step aside as investigations continue.

The Director of Communications at the presidency Eugene Arhin will also not say the reason why the two have been suspended.

He told Evans Mensah investigations are still underway and the president will take decisions as and when the report of the investigations is made available.

According to him, the president received a report of the preliminary investigation conducted into the matter and decided that the two must step aside.

Until his suspension, the Deputy Minister Pius Enam Hadzide is said to be the chair of the International Games committee, the committee that supervised the organization and transportation activities for the Commonwealth Games.

Robert Sarfo Mensah was also the Deputy Chair of that same committee a reason why the two were made to step aside.

Kwame Agbodzah

Independent Probe

Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament is not impressed with the suspension of the two officials.

Member of Parliament for Adaklu Kwame Agbodzah suspects the substantive minister is being shielded by the president.

He did not understand why the Deputy must be made to step aside when the substantive minister is still in charge.

He called for an independent parliamentary probe into the matter.

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