President Akufo-Addo suspends deputy sports minister over visa scandal

Pius Hadidze
Pius Hadidze

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on Thursday suspended from office the deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Pius Enam Hadzide, with immediate effect.

The presidency said in a release that the decision follows preliminary investigations conducted into the circumstances that led to the arrest of some 60 Ghanaians who had allegedly attempted to enter Australia by false pretences in the ongoing Commonwealth Games.

Also suspended is the acting Director General of the National Sports Authority (NSA), Robert Sarfo Mensah.

According to the release, the president has recalled from the games the head of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Ben Nunoo Mensah, and three other senior officials of the Ghanaian delegation to the 2018 Commonwealth Games to assist in investigations currently being undertaken by the police.

According to reports, many of the Ghanaians detained and deported posed as journalists who had arrived in Australia to cover the Commonwealth Games.

But upon screening, the Australian Border Force was reportedly unconvinced about their reasons for travelling to the country or their claims of being journalists despite possessing genuine visas.

The two officials were suspended and consequently sent back home from Team Ghana’s camp for their alleged complicity in the visa scandal that caused embarrassment to Ghanaian officials in Australia.

Meanwhile, the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) is calling for an independent enquiry to identify and sanction officials found complicit in the scandal.

SWAG president, Kwabena Yeboah, said the reported arrest, detention and deportation of the self-acclaimed journalists of questionable credentials, including some genuine sports journalists, was deeply worrying as it painted a negative picture not only about the profession but also on the nation as a whole. Enditem

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