A Former Sports Minister Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye has hit back at the Sports Minister Isaac Asiamah saying as at the time he was exiting the ministry, the debt portfolio had reduced to GH₵40 million plus and that the latter has contributed to the GH₵51 million debt.
Mr Vanderpuye indicated that he inherited over GH₵60 million debt when he was appointed by the Mahama administration.
He questioned why the Minister refused to explain how the debt was accrued saying the blame cannot be solely placed at his door steps and that of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
He explained that the debt was accumulated as a result of monies spent on sporting activities undertaken by the ministry by past governments.
Mr Vanderpuye indicated that majority of people who rendered services including hotel accommodation to the national team had not been paid since CAN 2008.
Mr Asiamah on Tuesday addressing journalists accused his predecessor Mr Vanderpuye of leaving the ministry in debt of GH₵51 million.
But speaking on Ultimate Breakfast Show hosted by Lantam Papanko, Mr Vanderpuye questioned Mr Asiamah on how he was able to finance Black Stars’ activities in 2017 before the budget was approved by Parliament.
‘As at the time I was leaving the ministry, our debt at that time had come to about GH₵40 something million, if its gone GH₵51 million, it was a result of the matches which were played by the Black Stars, Black maidens, black Princesses and other activities that came up after I had left the ministry…They contributed to the debt, Asiamah cannot run away from it, where did he get the money from?, so its part of the debts’.
He said he least expected Mr Asiamah to accuse him of leaving the ministry in debt.
‘First let me say this, it was highly…I don’t want to be harsh, so I’m going to be very, let me say, it was very unexpected of a Minister to come and stand there and just say that he inherited a debt of GH₵51 million from the NDC/Mahama government, without telling Ghanaians what constitute the debt, what’s the profile of that debt, without telling Ghanaians that some of the debts were accrued as a result of non payments of people who undertook certain activities for CAN 2018.
‘When I was a Minister, the debt was over GH₵60 million, that is the cedi component, and we had close to almost $12million component, because people who even supplied the scoreboards and the rest had not been paid, people who did work for the Essipong stadium had not been paid, the rest have not been paid, people who did work have not paid been, the debts were there,’ he explained.
The Member of Parliament of the Odododiodoo constituency said Akufo-Addo’s government will continue to accumulate debt if the ministry doesn’t adopt new ways of handling sporting activities.
‘…They will continue to accumulate debts if we don’t change the way we run sports,’ he said.
He recalled that the budget allocation to the ministry was being cut yearly.
‘…As at the time I came to the Ministry, we were taking almost just GHC30 million as budget allocation which 50% go into compensation,…Two to three Blackstars’ matches will take the rest of the budget allocation of the ministry, so what are you going to depend on to undertake other projects?, so lots of activities were taken on credit,’ he pointed out.
He added, ‘Let me tell you point blank, by the time the teams which have gone for the Commonwealth games return, there will be debts, I’m telling you’.