Ghanaians who travelled to support the Black Stars in Brazil had a field day to dine and wine because the coupon system they instituted collapsed, the Project coordinator for the sub-committee of the 2014 World Cup tourney, Fred Darko has revealed to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.
According to Mr Darko, due to the failure by the committee to strictly monitor the coupons that were given to the selected supporters, the committee was unable to determine the number of supporters who were at the cost to the state.
Mr. Darko who continued his evidence-in-chief to the commission spoke extensively on the role he played before, during and after the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament. Ghana's troubled participation is under scrutiny after President John Mahama set up a commission to look into circumstances surrounding Ghana's disappointing participation which saw the Black Stars knocked out in the group stages.
He told the Presidential Commission that there was a well-structured procedure in place to allow supporters to use coupons to collect their food at their camping base, but due to the system failure on the part of the committee they did not know the number of supporters they fed in a day.
"The food coupons collapsed after three days because there was a lot of traffic, and we had to use the security tags and when that also failed we head-counted. Ghanaians who travelled to support the Black Stars in Brazil were made to queue and also rushed for food," he disclosed to the commission last Wednesday.
The project coordinator said "The remaining coupons were brought back to Ghana since we considered them as waste."
He said each supporter was given a security tag to identify him/her as a Ghanaian supporter and also to provide the committee with data of each member they flew to Brazil.
Mr. Darko further noted that he could not be solely blamed for the failure since the chairs of the subcommittees did not report to him, but sent their reports directly to the minister.
Addressing the commission on flight issues, he said Kenpong Travel and Tour, Travel Matters and Africa Origin Travel and Tour were contracted for airlifting of the supporters to Brazil. Out of these agencies, only Travel Matters made provision for an airplane.
He stated that Travel Matters brought additional 70 supporters on board because the agency had already signed a contract with another agency to carry them.
"We made provision for 710 passengers, but because they brought extra passengers we had to reduce our number of supporters and that led to our inability to carry all the supporters."
He mentioned that there was no formal contract between the subcommittees and the travelling agencies and admitted it was a mistake not to have done that. "It was only letters, we did not sign any formal contract with the travelling agencies," he noted.