Former President of Ghana Football Association (GFA), Kwesi Nyantakyi, was yesterday re-arraigned before an Accra High Court over alleged shady deals which were exposed by popular investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in his ‘Number 12’ investigative piece.
Mr. Nyatakyi together with a former member of the Executive Committee of the GFA, Abdulai Alhassan, appeared in court, charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud and corruption by a public officer to which they all pleaded not guilty.
The two, according to the prosecution, executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of a non-existent company, claiming to be attracting sponsorship for the Ghana Premier League (GPL).
They were further alleged to have demanded US$12 million from the supposed investors, promising to land them major contracts in Ghana.
The investigative piece by Anas and his Tiger Eye PI covered the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Ministry of Youth & Sports, GFA, the Ghana FA Cup and the Women’s Football League.
The private investigations which initially focused on football matters in the country eventually ‘diverted’ to political and investment matters as the ex-GFA boss tried to allegedly convince the ‘investors’ he had what it took to influence the business community in Ghana.
He discussed a certain US$12 million deal with his ‘investors’, who unknown to him were from the Tiger Eye PI – and that was how the name of the President, his Vice and some government officials came in.
Gyau Ashia Bonsu, counsel for Mr. Nyantakyi, prayed the court to grant him a self recognizance bail pending trial, saying the accused person would avail himself to the court for the proceedings.
He told the court that the accused person throughout the investigations and throughout the initial proceedings had been available to the police and to the court, and will continue to do so.
Richard Lartey, counsel for Abdulai Alhassan, also prayed the court to grant his client bail, adding that the accused would be present before the court to answer the charges preferred against him.
Although the prosecution led by Victoria Asieduwaa, a Principal State Attorney, did not oppose the application for bail, she rejected the call for a self recognizance bail, saying they should be admitted to bail on such terms that the accused persons would be compelled to attend trial.
The court, presided over by Justice Elfrida Denkyi, in her ruling, said the accused are to remain on their old bail terms of GH¢1 million each with three sureties, each to be justified.
As part of the bail conditions, they are to report to the investigator every Friday till the final determination of the case.
The facts of the case as presented by Victoria Asiedua, a Principal State Attorney, were that Anas’ Tiger Eye PI in 2017 presented itself to the accused persons as representatives of H.H. Sheikh Hammad Al Thani, a member of the royal family of Qatar and Chairman of Medgulf Company Limited.
She said Tiger Eye had told the accused persons that they were interested in sponsoring the Ghana Premier League and other GFA activities as well as infrastructural construction, oil refinery, and banking, among others.
The court heard that officials of Tiger Eye presented themselves as representatives of Medgulf through emails and held a series of meetings in Accra and Dubai, which were secretly recorded by Tiger Eye.
It said that at one of such meetings on October 7, 2017 in Dubai, Mr. Nyantakyi presented himself as a powerful person and a potential public officer who could influence the President, the Vice President, Minister for Roads & Highways, and Minister for Transport of Ghana to promote the business interest of Medgulf in Ghana.
According to the prosecution, it was agreed at that meeting that Medgulf would sponsor the Ghana Premier League with a total of US$15 million for three years, which resulted in the execution of a MoU between Medgulf and a non-existent company called Namax Company that would represent the interest of Medgulf in Ghana.
Mr. Nyantakyi, according to the facts, in his capacity as the GFA president, signed on behalf of Namax and it was witnessed by Mr. Alhassan.
Again, the fact said it was agreed between Mr. Nyantakyi and an official of Tiger Eye that all moneys paid by Medgulf to Ghana would be channelled through Fountain Savings & Loans Limited, a company in which Mr. Nyantakyi allegedly held majority shares.
In the process, Tiger Eye allegedly paid US$65,000 to Mr. Nyantakyi as inducement for showing favour to Medgulf as a potential sponsor of the Ghana Premier League and to provide business opportunities for Medgulf in Ghana.
It said Mr. Nyantakyi also demanded from Tiger Eye a total of US$12 million to influence the award of contracts to Medgulf in Ghana, which was to be distributed among government officials in the manner of the President (US$5 million), his Vice (US$3 million), Minister of Roads & Highways (US$2 million), Deputy Minister of Roads & Highways (US$1) million while he (Nyantakyi) and Alhassan would keep the remaining US$1 million.
The two were said to have made several demands for the payment of the US$12 million as well as the GPL sponsorship money which Tiger Eye refused to pay and made a complaint to the police.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak