A report that has exposed Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi the president of the Ghana Football Association and has caused his dismissal or resignation also revealed he had traveled with President George Manneh Weah when he (Weah) was seeking financial help to run his campaign.
President George Manneh Weah’s name surfaced when GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi was filmed by Ghanaian journalist Aremeyaw Anas whose private investigation company, TigerEye PI also filmed scores of football stakeholders taking bribes.
Anas’s documentary, entitled, “When Greed and Corruption Become the Norm,” showed more than 100 football officials – most of them West African referees – receiving cash gifts, despite Fifa’s rules expressly forbidding it.
According to Joy FM of Accra, Ghana, Mr. Weah met with the undercover journalist who posed as an investor to fund Weah’s 2017 presidential campaign in Liberia. Joy quoted veteran Ghanaian journalist Kweku Baako, who served as a panelist on the station’s prime program Newsfile, saying that then Liberian presidential candidate George Weah was part of the trip the Ghana FA Chief (Nyantakyi) organized to meet the investors now known to be fake.
“Close sources have revealed that Kwesi Nyantkyi was asked to bear the cost of plane tickets to Dubai. Together with others, he went to Dubai thrice and traveled on Business Class,” Mr. Baako, who was speaking on behalf of Anas, said.
“In the first instance, he traveled with George Oppong Weah and others. He was taking Oppong Weah to meet the “investors” who had promised they would fund his election Campaign,” he said.
Baako, who is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, also said that Anas’ team members met with Weah, Nyantakyi, and others before they flew to Dubai. They were there for three days, but they could not meet the “Sheikh.”
In that trip, Nyantakyi paid for the cost of airfares and their hotel accommodation—an amount that summed to US$40,000.
“In the second visit, Nyantakyi paid for his own business class air ticket and finally met the fake ‘Sheikh’. The “investors” had told him it would be refunded when he finally met them in Dubai.
“He was given $40,000 when the two met in a hotel room where a secret camera recording the interactions during which Kwesi Nyantakyi told the ‘investor’ they could ‘own the country if they were to provide US$8 million to the President and the VP of Ghana,” Baako quoted Anas’s report.
This is not the first time President Weah has been linked to fraudulent acts in the football world. Documents obtained by the Sunday Times of London in 2014 from FIFA threw the world governing body into chaos, and also indicted the soccer icon. The newspaper claims that Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam, the former FIFA vice-president, used slush funds from 10 private company accounts to make dozens of payments in return for votes.
Hammam was reported to have utilized a systematic campaign to win support for Qatar 2022 in Africa to the tune of more than $5 million from slush funds. One of those that were targeted to influence across the globe was Mr. Weah, which leaked document revealed was given US$50,000.
“I write because after meeting with the President [bin Haman], he told me to pass on my contact and bank details information to you urgently,” – An email communication from George Weah to bin Hammam’s assistant, Najeeb Chirakal, said.
Speaking on the issue, Weah said Bin Hammam was a father figure and he had interacted with him before. The Sunday Times newspaper of London also unleashed a string of E-Mail correspondence between Weah, his long-time friend and current Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe and Mohammed Bin Hammam’s assistant, which revealed that the Ballon d’Or winner requested US$50,000 in exchange for their support toward Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
Bin Hammam was banned by FIFA in 2012 for life for violating its code of ethics with alleged conflicts of interest during his time as Asian Football Confederation President and as a member of the FIFA Executive Committee.
Liberia FA president at the time and CAF executive committee member, Musa Bility, doubt that the allegations against his Ghanaian colleague are true. Bility, who himself has been overwhelmed by corruption allegations, noted that Nyantakyi will be exonerated of the fraudulent charges leveled against him.
Bility said his colleague is a man of integrity and will survive the charges.
“Kwesi Nyantakyi is a good man. His credibility and integrity are undoubted and everyone at CAF is very confident he will come out clean,” Beach FM, a Ghanaian station quoted Bility as saying.
“I’m not surprised with the current situation Kwesi Nyantakyi finds himself in his country. This is because allegations of bribery and corruption against Football Association presidents as well as their involvement in governmental manipulations are gradually becoming normal practices in Africa.
“Many people believe football administrators are corrupt but that’s not the case. Nyantakyi shouldn’t be defined by this current predicament alone since we believe he will be free soon. He has a lot of good to still offer African football,” he added.
A day after Bility’s interview, the Ghanaian government found substantial evidence to charge the 49-year-old Nyantakyi with “defrauding under false pretenses” on orders of Ghana President Akufo-Addo.
Among those caught on camera was Kenyan referee Adel Range Marwa, who was bound for the World Cup in Russia until he resigned after he was filmed receiving a $600 “gift.”
He denies any wrongdoing.