Okudzeto: Nobody can intimidate us; not even Fifa!

A Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has stated the government will not allow itself to be intimidated by any organization or body.

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He said Fifa’s statement on the raiding of offices of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) can at best be described as misplaced if indeed it came from the world football governing body.

Fifa – in response to the ransacking of offices of the GFA by personnel of the Economic and Organised Crimes Office who carted away computers and files as part of investigations into suspicions of fraud – Thursday issued a statement giving the government until Sunday to stop interfering in the country’s Football Association and warned their action will have “adverse consequences” if it continues.

But Mr Ablakwa said the government could not be held responsible for actions of independent institutions of state.

“Government does not dictate to independent state institutions what they should do – the EOCO, CHRAJ, and the courts of Ghana – in this matter the court gave them (EOCO) a court warrant. We don’t dictate to the judiciary as to who they should give a warrant or court order or not,” he stated.

The Deputy Minister obviously unhappy, asked, “When in November 2005, Sepp Blatter’s office was raided by the Swiss police, why didn’t they disband or collapse Fifa? Is it because this is an African country?”

Mr Ablakwa maintained Fifa’s resistance to probe into the activities of the GFA was particularly churlish because Ghana was spending huge sums of money on football to the detriment of important social services.

“Look at the poverty around, look at the fact that we have schools under trees, people can’t have access to quality healthcare, potable water [yet] we use all this money for football because we love the game…but we expect accountability and we expect our state institutions to work so we want to believe that the report… is not exactly what Fifa is saying.”

The tough talking Deputy Information Minister warned that “We will not sit here and take disrespect from any organization wherever they exist in this world,…nobody in this government will be intimidated by any organisation under this sun.”

He advised Fifa to apprise itself of the actual situation in Ghana before taking any hasty decisions.

Joy Online