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Ghana defends airlifting US$3 million to World Cup players

John Dramani Mahama

John Dramani Mahama

Ghana President John Dramani Mahama said flying $3 million to the nation’s soccer team was “necessary” even as a defender filmed kissing the cash helped send the team out of the World Cup with an own goal.

Mahama, whose government relied on the central bank to pay its bills last quarter, sent a jet with more than $3 million to Brasilia to prevent a possible boycott of yesterday’s game against Portugal.

Defender John Boye can be seen kissing a stack of money in a hotel after it arrived by armed escort, according to Rio de Janeiro-based Globo TV.

Boye scored an own-goal in the game yesterday as Ghana, whose team is known as the Black Stars at home, lost 2-1.

“I believe valuable lessons were learned by all,” Mahama said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. “There was a problem with the initial mode of transportation for the payment and so we made other arrangements that, while unconventional, were necessary.”

The Black Stars’ behavior off the field overshadowed its three games in Brazil. The Ghana Football Association denied it had agreed to fix future international exhibition games, suspended two of its top players for fighting and downplayed the threat of a boycott of the Portugal game. The London-based Daily Telegraph reported this week that two men offered the association’s president a bribe to help fix matches.

“I don’t think you can place that many human beings together in a team, all of them stars in their own right, and not have some measure of ego display and some amount of discord,” Mahama said. “Our elimination at this stage is not for lack of talent or effort. The Black Stars have given their all.”

Ghana tied three-time World Cup champion Germany 2-2 and lost to the U.S. 2-1 in its other two group games. In the last World Cup in South Africa four years ago, it reached the quarterfinals before losing to Uruguay on penalty kicks.

The sight of a cavalcade with police support ferrying the cash to the hotel where Ghana’s team was staying wasn’t a good image, said Jerome Valcke, secretary general of soccer’s governing body FIFA. It would have been better to do it “in a normal way, which means a bank transfer,” Valcke told reporters in Rio de Janeiro.

The payday for Ghana’s soccer players comes as the country’s economy is struggling.

Growth will ease to the slowest pace since 2009 this year because of power shortages, a slumping currency and falling commodity prices, the International Monetary Fund said last month.

The central bank financing of the budget deficit led Fitch Ratings to warn of even higher inflation in a country that already has one of the highest rates in the world.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. Bostonman redsox says:

    Useless animals calling themselves leaders

  2. ataa nmai says:

    Not to mention the acute embarasment we Ghanaians (especially those living abroad) have felt this week when mocked by compatriots from foreign countries over the whole sorry affair.

  3. lion-fire says:

    Mr. President, there were other options, you could have taken..you chose the most illogical and poor one. Stop defending the wrong thing. Get rid, totally rid of the people who put you in this predicament, to have to defend such a poor decision.

  4. isquared says:

    President Mahama may be a very smart person but lacks the vision and conviction to be a good leader. Even @ the 11th hour, the best option would have been to deposit the money into personal bank accounts for each player and present them with concrete verification. But even better is just a guarantee from the President. But I guess the players could not even trust the President to take his word for it. This World Cup fiasco only makes very public the GROSS INCOMPETENCE and CORRUPTION of our current leadership in ALL aspects of Ghana from water, power, fuel, health insurance (NHIS), inflation, currency devaluation, etc. This is the worst Ghana has been in every aspect of life for over a decade. The BUCK STOPS WITH THE PRESIDENT and this grossly incompetent and corrupt NDC government!!!! WE NEED A TOTAL HOUSECLEANING EXERCISE across all segments of Ghanaian society starting with the President himself!!!!

  5. Wiredu says:

    This Mahama government is going down as the worse civilian government ever in the political history of Ghana. Everything is falling apart with this government.

  6. kkknj says:

    I think the President made a wrong choice in airlifting the money to the players. i thnk all that the President should have done was to make a call to the players and assure them of their money when they come back home. I dont think there is sense in airlifting such money to another mans land to sove this kind of problem. I am sorry to say, but the President also failed.

  7. Boro says:

    Deuteronomy 32:28-29 ‘ They are a nation without sense, there is no discerment in them. If only they were wise and would understand this and discern what their end will be!’ now Ghana seems to be making all the wrong decisions being it our economic policies, political leadership, instutional policies, roles of chiefs etc. How on earth can any nation with sense have his president transfer 3m dollars only to be taxed in that country. How can an electorate from a nation with sense allow itself to be bribed with only string for votes. How can a nation with sense destroy her railway line and begin to transports its bauxite by road for that distance. How can a nation with sense still depend on the proceeds of raw mineral exports but not add value to it endowed minrals. As if that is not enough our policies are such that we only receive 10% royalties from our mineral exploitation as a country. All the mining companies import whatever materials or equipments needed from their countries as well. Chiefs are now involve in galamsey to destroy our environment. Now all institutional procedures favours bribery. The receipt for land registry for instance amounts to only 200 ghana cedis but one has to pay btween 1000 -2000 ghana cedis depending on the region. If you need electicity you have to buy the pole yourself etc. In Ghana madmen can get drivers license. GHANA IS INDEED A COUNTRY WITH NO SENSE!