Ghana's World Cup commission judge fires at FIFA - 'We are not intimidated by anybody'
The high court judge leading Ghana’s Commission of Inquiry into the country’s 2014 World Cup participation has fired his first salvo at FIFA saying the world governing body cannot intimidate the three-man body.
Justice Senyo Dzamefe fired the first warning at FIFA on Monday at the first day of hearing in Accra implying it is unfazed by attempts by anybody or any institution to frustrate its work.
This comes after the Ghana Football Association (GFA) furnished the commission with a letter from FIFA urging government to change the terms of reference of their probe insisting it violates the world governing body’s laws.
The letter, Justice Dzamefe said, was dated August 7 and signed by Fifa Deputy Secretary General Markus Kattner.
While not mentioning specific institutions and names, the chairman of the commission, Justice Senyo Dzamefe was emphatic about their independence.
“This morning we received a letter from the [Ghana Football Association] addressed to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Honorable Mahama Ayariga and copied to us,” he said on Monday at the first sitting at the Accra Sports Stadium.
“I want to state categorically that we are not intimidated by anybody,” Justice Dzamefe insisted.
The world football governing body’s letter sent last Thursday addressed its unease at the insistence on the government of Ghana to look into the Black Stars performance at the World Cup – but the Commission would not admit that their comments were aimed at Fifa.
Meanwhile the commission has postponed its sittings to Wednesday August 13.
The two other members of the commission are lawyer and veteran sports broadcaster Moses Foh-Amoaning and Kofi Anokye Owusu Darko, rescheduled to allow the institutions subpoenaed ample time to prepare before taking their turns before the commission.
Four state-institutions were to be present at Monday’s sittings but only three showed up. The Bank of Ghana failed to show up for reasons that remain unclear but the Finance, Foreign Affairs and Sports ministries sent representatives.
Citi News’ Pearl Akanya Ofori reports that the atmosphere at the venue was expectant, but ultimately disappointing as no hearings came off.
In the wake of Ghana’s poor show at the recent World Cup, the Sports Ministry set up a three-member committee to investigate matters of player indiscipline and some poor decisions by the management team, as well as general poor performance in the tournament.
However, President John Mahama later upgraded the setup from a committee to a Commission of Inquiry.
Article 279 of Ghana’s constitution says such a commission “shall have the powers, rights and privileges of the High Court or a Justice of the High Court at a trial.”
In the eyes of Fifa, this simply means the GFA could be on trial from a High Court, which may go contrary to their rules of engagement with member associations.