AUSTRALIA VISA RACKETEERING BOMBSHELL (5)

July 28, 2019

Continued from Part 4:

 

QUESTIONS BY COMMITTEE:

Q: Can the two of you help us with the name of the photographer?

A: He is Charles Amofa the NSA photographer.

Q: ALO, worked directly under you CDM. Are you in touch with him.

A: Up till his suspension Australia we were communicating. He sent me an apology electronically which I undertake to make available to the Committee within 48 hours
though the GOC Secretariat.

QUESTION BY COMMITTEE DIRECTED AT MR. YEBOAH

Q: Who is Henrietta Opoku?

A: We have never heard of this name in our sporting fraternity.

 

(5) WITNESS ‘2’ (PROF. FRANCIS DODOO)

PRESIDENT ATHLETICS FEDERATION FORMER
PRESIDENT GOC:
Prof Francis Dodooo (Swears to be Truthful)

PRELIMINARY QUESTION BY CHAIRMAN:

Q: You are President Athletic and Federation Former President GOC?

A: Yes.

Witness 2 proceeds to testify.

I was in Australia by virtue
of my Board Membership of the Commonwealth Games Governance and Integrity Committee and Commonwealth Games Regulations Committee.

I am also President of the Athletics Federation.

WITNESS ‘2’ RECALLED:

Witness testifies as follows:

At the last hearing, I was requested to forward the video I was referring to. I have since forwarded them to the GOC Secretariat.

In those videos there was one in which the 1st Vice President of GOC spoke about the presumed Volleyball players who went to Gold Coast in March 2018 but turned out to be imposters.

Video clip of 1st Vice President played to the Committee explaining the system applied by the GOC for qualifying athletes.

The 1st Vice President GOC is heard to have said none of the names on the list travelled to Australia. But at the last sitting when he testified, he told the
Committee he had not seen the list.

So if he is referring to a list in the clip, I wonder which list he was referring to in the clip.

There is also the question of the concept of who is travelling with the names of Volleyball players.

Again when I think about the concept of legitimate athletes
being replaced by others, I wonder why even before the games anybody would have known that names may have been replaced.

There were also references to questions about provisional monies paid.

At least one of the audio
clips that I sent some days ago is about a returnee saying monies were paid to people in the GOC.

On why Australia will not co-operate, when the issue came up at the Governance and Integrity Committee of the Commonwealth Federation and just before the
meeting started, I was about to recuse myself when the President of the Commonwealth Games Federation said there was no need for my recusal because the issue would not be discussed as the Australia Border Patrol had asked
for a stay until their investigations were over.

I also requested to meet with Australia Border Patrol but
they were not forthcoming and I get the sense they did not trust anybody.

The 1st Vice President is invited to ask questions of Witness ‘2’. The 1
st Vice President says he has no
questions.

0n 7th August 2018, further hearing was about to commence, the President of the GOC requested to share a concern he claims keeps coming up.

He has expressed worry about a
situation he perceives may result in a difficulty for the GOC in its dealings with other constitutional or statutory bodies.

In view of the implicit apprehension embedded in the view expressed by GOC the President, the Committee is of the position that further hearing be adjourned sine die.

We thereby adjourned sine die.

MONDAY 3/09/2018

Further to the communication circulated by the Secretary
General the GOC proceedings continued today 3/9/2018.

The scheduled list for the day was to hear the GOC President first.

Since neither the GOC President nor the President of Athletics
is available, the Committee will proceed to hear the testimony
of the Secretary General of GOC.

(6) WITNESS ‘3’ (RICHARD AKPOKAVIE)
SECRETARY GENERAL- GOC

The Secretary General takes the stand and is sworn as Witness ‘3’ by affirmation:

QUESTIONS BY CHAIRMAN:
Q: You are Richard Akpokavie

A: Yes, Mr. Chairman.

Q: You are Secretary General GOC?

A: Yes, Chairman.

Q: You have been involved in preparations towards Gold Coast Australia 2018?

A: Yes.

Q: You are aware that issues arose concerning improper or fraudulent visa applications or procurement by the Ghana delegation?

A: Yes, Mr. Chairman.

Witness ‘3’ then says as follows:-

For Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, there were 3 ways a
participating country can apply for Visa:

(1) First, the Athletes and officials of the Ghana delegation who will
participate in the games had a separate process.

(2)Media personnel who were going to coverthe games had a separate process.

(3) Any other persons who wanted to attend the games could also
apply.

For this category of persons they are to follow the normal
Visa Procurement Process.

For the second category, the Organizing Committee sends to
the GOC a link which we are authorized to call Media
personnel in the country who were interested in covering the
games.

Upon receipt the GOC circulated to Media personnel and requested them to apply on line.

The applications were received directly by the organizers who after verification will sent to the GOC a list of Media houses and persons who had applied.

It is important to state that some of the Media persons applied individually and some through their
organizations.

These persons and institutions who applied were responsible for the information provided to the
organizing committee.

For Category (1), the GOC was required to enter names of all
athletes and officials who could attend the Games.

This is called the long List because the number is not limited to only
those who will actually travel as it included athletes who could potentially attend the games.

The list was what the Organizing Committee used to prepare accreditation.

It also included sports disciplines that had not at the time of
presentation qualified to participate in the Games.

Upon receipt, the Organizing Committee verified those
eligible to be granted visas.

However, the Accreditation Cards
did not qualify a person to enter the host country.

The GOC was informed by the organizers that separate correspondence
from the Australia Border Control would be dispatched to each individual.

This procedure was different from what had pertained in the past as regards visa and accreditation for
previous Commonwealth Games.

In the past, the Accreditation Card itself was an entry visa.

At the GOC, we were mainly responsible for Category (1)
applications for visa.

The GOC had an inhouse structure led by the Chief of Mission, responsible for gathering or for
receiving information on all athletes and officials from the
National Federations.

So the National Federations submitted lists of their athletes and officials who were likely to participate in the Games.

When the list was submitted to the GOC by the Federations, the CDM and his staff were responsible for entering them in the Accreditation System, a software provided by the
organizers.

Hussein Addy was designated by the CDM as his Accreditation Liaison Officer.

He entered the particulars of all
athletes and officials and any queries from the organizers was directed to him.

He worked under the supervision of the CDM who was ultimately responsible to the Organizing
Committee because he was the person they recognized as the
GOC contact.

What I know is, when information is received from the CDM or members of his staff, I was informed by e-mail in my official capacity together with the President.

Witness ‘3’ undertakes
to make e-mail correspondence available verifying first information about the visa problem.

The summary of the contents is that some persons had travelled to Australia and had been detained at the Airport.

I recall the e-mail correspondence from the GOC Liaison Officer
for the Organizing Committee in Australia.

Upon receipt, I sent an e-mail to the CDM and copied the President of GOC to investigate the situation and let us know the result.

This happened before I travelled to Australia.

When I travelled to Australia, the President of the GOC and myself met with the CDM to discuss these matters.

While in a meeting, we were informed by the CDM that there
were other persons who had been detained by the Australia Border Control.

The three of us decided to interrogate Hussein Addy who was the Liaison officer for GOC attached to the CDM.

We also decided to interrogate Christiana Ashley because we
were informed by the CDM that she travelled with a Beach
Volleyball team to Australia.

The President and I met with
Hussein Addy and Christiana Ashley.

The summary of what
we discussed with them is contained in the report submitted
by the CDM and the GOC President.

Witness ‘3’ identifies Exhibit ‘1’.

He also identifies the report of the GOC President what he had referred to.

It is admitted as Exhibit ‘2’.

After the meeting, the GOC President directed the suspension
of Hussein Addy and Christiana Ashley by the CDM and further directed that arrangements be made to repatriate them back to Ghana.

I had a meeting with the CDM and Melvin Brown, (the Security
Liaison) who is a staff of National Security and President of
Karate Federation who was in Australia a security personnel
attached to the Ghana delegation.

The meeting was to enquire
from the Australia Border Control the names and identities of persons who had been detained.

This request was refused as they said they were not authorized.

We wanted certainty because of the rumuors going round with respect to numbers and personalities.

This was important because the identities would have helped
us to trace how these persons acquired their visas.

Upon return to Ghana, the Executive Board of the GOC met and decided that the matter be referred to this Sub-committee to investigate and make appropriate recommendations.

Witness ‘3’ concludes testimony.

QUESTIONS FROM COMMITTEE AND FROM PERSONS PRESENT

Q: Evans Yeboah President Badminton says he has no
questions for the Secretary General.

QUESTIONS FROM COMMITTEE:

Q: Who is Christiana Ashley you mentioned in your testimony?

A: She is the Secretary General of the Ghana Volleyball Federation.

Q: Did Volley ball qualify for Australia?

A: No.

Q: In what capacity was she in Australia?

A: She was a staff of the CDM?

Q: How come she travelled with Beach Volley ball Team?

A: I have no idea. However, the flight arrangements was
under the control of the National Sports Authority and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Q: Since Beach Volleyball did not qualify they will not be shortlisted.

A: That is correct.

Q: How then did the Beach Volleyball athletes get their visas?

A: I have no idea. But some of the sports disciplines, the athletes and officials received their visas before the qualification.

Q: Would that not have been a deception or fraudulent?

A: No, because almost all the persons on the long list who
qualified to receive visas actually received their visas but some of them were denied.

Q: I thought qualification was a condition precedent to travelling to Australia.

A: Not in all cases. There were some sports disciplines that
did not need to qualify.

Of all the disciplines that participated in the Games, Hockey, Weightlifting Badminton, and Beach Volleyball were the disciplines that had to qualify.

For Badminton, it was dual, partly
based on qualification and partly not on qualification.

With respect to the application for visas, the requirement was sent long before the expiry of the period for qualification and visas were given based on the Long List.

I wish to add that 7th March was the call off date. By that
date, the CDM had to confirm the Ghana delegation and that will not include sports disciplines which did not qualify.

Q: If you say did not qualify. By whose standards? Ghana or
Australia? So if a person is travelling as an individual will
he have to inform anybody else. Will I not be required to travel as part of a team.

A: Yes

Q: So if you have your visa, you can travel as an individual?

A: Yes.

Q: This issue of finding out those detained, Could you have
requested the assistance of the IOC?

A: No, because in this instance it was the Commonwealth
Federation and our approach to them informed us that this was an Australia Border Control issue.

Q: The date of March 7th, Did the CDM honour that date?

A: Yes he did correctly. I do, I understand that.

Q: All visas from the long list were sent to the CDM?

A: I cannot confirm that.

Q: Are you aware of the committee constituted by the President of the Republic in connection with Gold Coast 2018?

A: I am aware that the matter was referred to the Ghana Police to investigate.

Q: Were you invited?

A: I was not personally invited but the CDM and the President GOC were invited.

Q: Have you read the report of the CDM?

A: Yes.

Q: You are aware of what he said about notification of cancellation of entries for Beach Volleyball as Ghana did not qualify and the removal of some names from the long list?

A: Yes I am aware

Q: After the deletion of names the CDM said he received information on 16/3/2018 that some Beach Volleyball athletes have attempted entry Australia.

Question overruled by Chairman because the Secretary General has had opportunity to address the issue.

Witness ‘3’ is discharged.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

 


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