Ghanaian sports ministry and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) have distanced themselves from the more than 50 Ghanaians caught trying to gain entry to Australia while posing as journalists covering the Commonwealth Games.
The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Pius Enam Hadzide while speaking to local media said the ministry would be opening an investigation while clarifying that the visas were not awarded by his department.
“We did not sponsor journalists, we didn’t sponsor supporters, we didn’t sponsor anybody to the Commonwealth Games, we didn’t handle accreditation and for international tournaments, the ministry doesn’t handle accreditation,” he said.
One of the deportees had told Ghana-based radio station, Atinka FM that officials of the Ghana Olympics Sports Committee and the Ministry of Sports were paid between $2,000 and $5,000 (£1,400 – £3,550) to have their visas processed as journalists for the Games. This prompted the denial by the sports ministry.
The GJA on its side said denied knowledge of the mentioned people.
The journalists’ association in a statement by the GJA President Affail Monney has called on the “Foreign Affairs Ministry, the police and other relevant institutions to thoroughly investigate the matter in order to establish the true identity of the deportees for the purposes of redeeming the image of Ghana and Ghanaian journalists.”
The deportees had in their possession genuine traveling documents but were arrested by the Australian authorities and detained after they were unable to answer sports-related questions which they should have easily answered! Since they are journalists!