Continued from PART 1:
(v) The Committee gave all witnesses the opportunity to appear with lawyers of their choice. All witnesses who testified were given the opportunity to examine any other witness they found
expedient to examine on any matter relevant to the business of
the Committee. All witnesses were given the opportunity to examine officers of the GOC who may have made any statements or remarks against them in their official reports.
(vi) All witnesses testified on oath in accordance with their respective
faiths to be truthful.
(4) ATTENDANCE OF WITNESSES:
WITNESS ‘1’ (MOHAMMED B. SAHNOON) CHIEF OF MISSION (CDM):
Chairman invites witness to swear.
Witness Swears to speak the truth.
I am Mohammed Badae Sahnoon. I am the President of Ghana Cycling Federation and the Chief of Mission (CDM) of Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Australia 2018. At the end of the games, I submitted a report to the President of the GOC for purposes of record.
Witness identifies his report.
Report of Chief of Mission (CDM) identified by Witness ‘1’ and marked Exhibit ‘1’. Witness says he stands by the entire report. But he wishes to add that;
subsequent to the report he was invited by the Police C.I.D Visa Fraud Unit to throw more light on the visa scandal.
Witness explains that he was not a suspect and was not questioned but was requested to explain the procedures which were engaged in accreditation of persons to the Commonwealth Games in Australia in relation to athletes and Journalists.
Witness says he submitted a statement, with Exhibits attached and some key documents.
Witness undertakes to make extra documents available by the close of the day by e-mail.
The Documents are:
1) General Team List for Commonwealth Games.
2) Press Statement issued on 27/3/2018 from Gold Coast, Australia
3) Commonwealth Games Association Ghana Press accreditation.
4) Letter from Games Organizers on Temporary Activity
(Sublevels 408) Visacrant.
5) Letter from Organizers dated 16/11/2018 to head Gold Coast
6) Letter dated 2/4/2018 to Head of Accreditation Gold DOC
on detained Ghanaians.
7) Response from Australia Border Force dated 3/4/2018.
QUESTIONS BY COMMITTEE:
Q: Were you appointed Chief of Mission (CDM) by any
A: Yes. I received a letter signed by the President of GOC.
Q: Did the letter spell out the scope of your duties?
A: I knew exactly what I was supposed to do.
Q: You said in your report that prior to your appointment some work had been done by whom?
A: There were some changes. I took over from Mr. Galley and took off from wherever they had gotten to.
Q: Were you satisfied with what you inherited?
A: It is difficult to answer the question. I continued from there. At the time of my taking over the team size calculator has been done.
Q: Who prepared the team size calculator?
A: I am sure Mr. Galley would be in a position to answer that because it was prepared by a team for which he was the leader.
Q: You have been Chief of Mission (CDM) before?
A: Yes under chaotic circumstances in India.
Q: Were the systems you were conversant with respect to India the same as Australia?
A: Australia was much better I had to stay till late for India. I had a challenge, but I managed to have all of the athletes and officials accredited.
Q: Will you agree that the Chief of Mission (CDM) job requires preparation?
A: I agree.
Q: What will you suggest?
A: The Chief has to prepare for the games but his work has to be complimented. We need a data base from where we will feed the system. Because there is no data base we rely on the Federations and there is no way to confirm the status of an athlete. Some work has to be done on that in future.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about what you had to do with the National Sports Authority (NSA)?
A: It is a practice that the Ministry and the NSA are informed. The
President notified them and an International Games Committee was set up chaired by the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports. We had several meetings and minutes were taken. The meetings in my view were a complete waste of
time as no key decisions could be taken. Matters of kitting and
equipment were not implemented.
Q: Going back to your report the issue we had with your report was the language and in the way you were appointed. It has nothing to do with certainty or time.
A: I was then not sure of the date of my appointment.
Q: Going through your report and the complaints and information received, you mentioned Beach Volleyball in your report. That you had a list which did not form part of the official list. Who is responsible for Beach Volley ball (See page
4 of the Chief of Mission report)?
A: I do not know who is responsible for Beach Volleyball.
Q: You received information from Australia that the 13 names
had been deleted.
A: On 16/3/2018, I received an e-mail reporting the presence of
five (5) persons representing Beach Volleyball. I drew the attention of the President and Secretary General of GOC.
Therefore I sent a query for our Accreditation Liaison Officer
(ALO) by name Hussein Addy to explain the circumstances
leading to those entries. He did not respond.
Q: The Committee shows witness 6 copies of complaints against the Respondents named and seeks a reaction?
A: I stand by my report. If it affects any of the Respondents, I still stand by it.
Q: There was a procedure to insert names into a list. You are not in charge. You are now receiving phone calls instead of names,
tell us about it.
A: By 22/3/2018, I had a list of 109. On 24/3/2018 I was invited
by the organizers of the games (GOLD DOC) Officials concerning one Salim Abdulahi who claimed to be a boxer because they suspected impersonation.
They wanted me to find out if he was in Ghana or Australia. And this was in the presence of the Border Control Officials and they were cagey in releasing information.
I called George Lamptey President of Ghana Boxing Federation who told me Salim Abdulai was an official from the gym of the Vice President of Boxing and that it was the Secretary General of the Boxing Federation who was in charge of the long list.
Subsequently, I had some whatsapp messages from the Vice President of Boxing who pleaded that Salim Abdulahi was in Ghana but rather an athlete called Abdul Karim was at Perth Australia and needed clearance from me. And I declined.
With Swimming, on 26/3/2018 the President of Swimming sent me a whatsapp message that I should facilitate entry of some officials into Gold Coast, Australia.
I told him that they not being part of
the list of 109, I could not help. So I reminded him that on 20/3/2018, I circulated notice to all participants that only approved persons on the final list should come to Australia.
I realized that the information did not go down well, so I sent a
warning that if they did not abide, they will have problems with the Australia authorities.
Witness ‘1’ further states that
after suspending the ALO Hussein Addy and Christian Ashley who were then with us in Gold Coast Australia but were not to come to the village until authorized, they left the Games Village without any notification.
They were on the list of 109 as part of the CDM’s team. They were staff of the NSA and at the same time members of Weightlifting and Volley Volleyball Federations as officials. They have since returned to Ghana.
Witness ‘1’ says the Technical Director of Cycling should be
invited. (See page 5 of Chief of Mission (CDM) report).
TO BE CONTINUED.