The tango between the immediate past President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, and the ace investigative journalist, Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas, will not go down any time soon.
Mr Nyantakyi has accused Anas of allegedly trying to extort $150,000 from him through an unnamed lawyer in order not to screen the documentary.
Reacting to allegations of corruption as depicted in the Number 12 documentary on football administration in Ghana, Mr Nyantakyi insisted that contrary to what was seen and described in the film as he collecting $65,000 as gift for shopping, he rather received $40,000, which was a reimbursement for an expenditure he incurred from two previous trips to meet a supposed Sheikh.
However, Tiger Eye PI has called Mr Nyantakyi’s bluff, describing the allegation of extortion as a fabrication, a figment of Mr Nyantakyi’s imagination and an attempt to redeem his image.
In an eight-page statement he signed and issued in Accra yesterday, Mr Nyantakyi insisted that the supposed Sheikh in the documentary still owed him $21,000 in refund for expenses he (Nyantakyi) incurred on trips to meet the Sheikh in Dubai.
In a strongly worded rebuttal slamming the content of the investigative video, the former GFA boss explained that he incurred a $61,000 debt in travel and lodging expenses for his trips to meet the Sheikh.
According to him, he used $10,000 for his two trips, board and lodging; $26,000 for cost of two first-class air tickets for a former footballer and two others and $25,000 for board and lodging for a former footballer and others at the Burj Arab Hotel in Dubai, all amounting to $61,000, but he received $40,000.
“I was handed the sum of $40,000 only in eight bundles of US$50 banknotes, but not $65,000, which both the Sheikh’s agent and I understood to be reimbursement for the travel costs incurred by me, at the Sheikh’s request. It is very easy to confirm how much was given to me from the video tapes. The money was exposed before I was tricked to put it in the bag personally.
“A critical review of the video clip will reveal that when the money was handed to me, there was no mention of shopping. A different video has a voice emerging from a faceless speaker saying: “Shopping for now.” This insertion of an overriding voice was clearly an afterthought,” Mr Nyantakyi said.
"Let me also confirm that there was a demand on me, through a lawyer, to part with $150,000 for Anas to drop the videos on me. I didn’t have the said amount of money to meet his demand," he said.
He maintained that he did not support corruption in any form, as it was counterproductive and undermined the credibility of any endeavour, but said he would condemn any “premeditated and deliberately contrived scheme, as well as any prejudiced piece of work under the guise of fighting corruption, only for the purpose of pursuing the private agenda of people intended to tarnish my reputation and cause disaffection” for him among members of the public.
Tiger Eye reacts
In a statement issued in reaction, Tiger Eye PI described Mr Nyantakyi’s allegation of attempted extortion as a fabrication and an attempt to redeem his image.
But Mr Nyantakyi, who resigned as the Vice-President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), insisted that the videos showed by Tiger Eye PI “exhibited common character traits that denied viewers the full benefit of the full story”.
“I would request that Tiger Eye does us a favour by playing the full video or audios of all the meetings held with Suale. The only occasion I met the supposed Sheikh was the meeting in Dubai. The video/audio presented to the public cannot be appreciated outside the context of all the meetings and discussions held,” he said.
Touching on allegations that he intended to divert proceeds from the $15-million sponsorship deal between the GFA and the Qatari Trading Company, he said the allegation was false, as he never negotiated any sponsorship agreement between the two parties, as no proposal had been sent to the association, as required.
“I met with the Sheikh’s agent, Suale, over a period of one month and with the supposed Sheikh only once, during which meetings I advised that all sponsorships for the GFA be preceded by sponsorship proposals, for which reason it was necessary for the Sheikh to present a written sponsorship proposal to the GFA for consideration.
“I have no interest whatsoever in NAMAX. It is regrettable that Tiger Eye could not ascertain that from the most rudimentary of checks,” he said.
Also in the video was the allegation that Mr Nyantakyi had asked for $5 million for President Nana Akufo-Addo, $3 million for Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and $2 million and $1 million for the Minister of Roads and his deputy, respectively.
While admitting making the statement in the video, Mr Nyantakyi said it was borne out of information he gathered that the Sheikh had given $8 million in financial support to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2016 general election and was ready to offer a similar package to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to mitigate expenses the party incurred in the run-up to the 2016 general election.
He said when the Sheikh sought advice from him on the matter, he responded that “if Sheikh Al-Thani spent $8 million on a party that had lost elections, it made sense to spend the same amount or more on the party that won the elections”.
On the formation of a company as an agency, he said the video did not support allegations that he wanted to make between 20 and 25 per cent on the sponsorship deal, amounting to $4.5 million, since, mathematically, 20 per cent of 15 was $3 million and 25 per cent of 15 was $3.7 million.
With the documentary showing correspondence between Mr Nyantakyi and the “investors”, he said there was evidence that on five occasions his email was hacked to implicate him in wrongdoing and deliberately tarnish his image.
Morocco’s World Cup bid
He also accused Anas of scuttling Morocco’s World Cup bid by showing the video a few days to FIFA’s vote on the 2026 World Cup host, as well as tracking the disgraced Kenyan referee, Aden Range Marwa, to Morocco, adding that the motive was more than exposing corruption.
Tiger Eye speaks
Responding to the allegations, the Tiger Eye statement said the claim that a third party had made a demand for $150,000 for Anas was a complete fabrication, a figment of Mr Nyantakyi’s imagination and had no merit.
“We dare Mr Nyantakyi to name this third party. In fact, Tiger Eye is willing to provide undercover support to assist him find this third party, should he extend invitation to us again,” it said.
On the alleged hacking of Mr Nyantakyi’s email, it said the assertion was manufactured to make him appear like a victim.
“Again, we dare him to substantiate who hacked his email and how the person did it. In this day of advanced technology, those events are traceable,” the statement added.
Tiger Eye PI and Anas’s investigative work, in collaboration with the BBC, entitled: “Number 12; When misconduct and greed become the norm”, was first screened publicly on June 6, 2018.
It showed the depth of alleged corruption in Ghana’s football administration.
Match officials were caught on tape allegedly receiving between GH¢300 and GH¢5,000 to award penalties and show yellow and red cards.
Other forms of inducement to referees, match commissioners and officials included goats, sheep, cooking oil and rice.
The most shocking image from the documentary was Mr Nyantakyi being paid $65,000 for assuring investors, who later turned out to be Anas’s team members, of his readiness to get them good sponsorship deals and juicy contracts from the government.