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Okudzeto Challenges Ghana’s $48M African Games Expenditure Plans

According to Ablakwa, documents he has obtained reveal that an astonishing sum of US$48 million is earmarked for "operational expenses" for the event scheduled to be held in Accra from March 5 to 23, 2024.

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has raised serious concerns over the Ghanaian government’s financial plans for the upcoming 13th African Games.

According to Ablakwa, documents he has obtained reveal that an astonishing sum of US$48 million is earmarked for “operational expenses” for the event scheduled to be held in Accra from March 5 to 23, 2024.

This disclosure comes amidst ongoing controversy regarding the allocation of US$8.5 million for the AFCON budget, pointing towards a pattern of financial extravagance.

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The US$48 million for operational expenses stands apart from an already significant investment of US$195 million (GHS2.4 billion) spent on infrastructural developments for the games. This brings the total expenditure to a staggering figure that raises eyebrows, especially given Ghana’s current economic struggles and reliance on an IMF bailout.

Ablakwa’s analysis of a letter from February 13, 2024, signed by the LOC Executive Chairman, Dr. Kwaku Ofosu-Asare, outlines the breakdown of this colossal spending. Over an 18-day period, the daily expenditure on operational expenses will amount to GHS33.4 million, a figure that far exceeds the GHS100 million initially approved by Parliament for the entire event. This discrepancy indicates a direct defiance of parliamentary authority and raises questions about the legality and justification of the expenditure.

The MP’s critique extends to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s leadership, accusing him of chairing fundraising meetings aimed at securing the US$48 million despite the nation’s dire financial situation. These meetings, held in November 2023, targeted both state-owned enterprises and private companies with substantial government contracts, suggesting a potential conflict of interest and lack of transparency in the selection process for fundraising targets.

This situation has sparked outrage among top executives who received the fundraising letters, with concerns about the appropriateness of such a large request from a country grappling with economic challenges. Questions are being raised about the ethical implications of the president’s actions, including the criteria for selecting companies for these fundraising efforts and the fairness of future competitive bidding processes.

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Ablakwa’s revelations highlight a broader issue of fiscal responsibility and governance in Ghana. The decision to allocate such a significant portion of the budget to operational expenses for a short-term event, against the backdrop of an economic crisis, underscores the need for a more prudent and transparent approach to public spending.

As the country prepares to host the 13th African Games, the government’s financial strategy remains a subject of intense scrutiny and debate, reflecting broader concerns about fiscal management and accountability in times of economic hardship.

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