Suspended Ghana Olympic Committee Executive Frank Appiah caught lying

In what looks like the mother of all ironies, an executive member of the suspended and outgoing Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) has been caught pants down trying to defraud a continental sporting body.

Mr. Frank, Appiah, tried to deceive the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) about the legitimacy of the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA), while assuming powers that can legally be exercised only by the GAA.

This situation would be comical were it not for the serious predicament Ghana faces over the suspension of the GOC and the seriousness of the charges.

What explanation can there be when a man who has helped hold Ghana sports hostage over the autonomy of governance is caught lying and assuming powers he and the defunct GOC never had? The short answer is desperation and a reflection of true motive; desire to cling to power doing whatever it takes.

According to the General Secretary of the Confederation of African Athletics, Lamine Faty, his outfit received a communication from the Vice President of the suspended GOC, Frank Appiah on March 24, 2011.

In the letter, Mr. Appiah deceptively informed the CAA that the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) is an illegitimate organization and not recognised by his outfit.  He then went on to nominate a former chairman of the GAA, Mr. Sandy Osei-Agyeman, for a position on the CAA executive committee.

However, in a firm and direct manner, Mr. Appiah the architect of this coup d’état, has been given a rude awakening by the CAA.

The CAA insists that the GAA is in good standing and Mr. Appiah and his outfit have no authority to decide on the legitimacy of the GAA. They clarified to Mr. Appiah that the power to certify GAA lies with the global governing body for athletics; the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). (Note to readers: This is the exact same stance the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has adopted in the ongoing GOC saga).

The General Secretary of the CAA Lamine Faty wrote: “I would like to inform you that CAA had never been informed about this situation, let alone received any notification from its regulating body IAAF asking CAA to suspend connections with this federation”

In addition to the latter rebuke, the CAA informed Mr. Appiah that the due date for nominations for election onto the CAA’s executive committee elapsed on January 31, 2011.  Of greater importance, Mr. Faty went on to inform Mr. Appiah that the power to nominate candidates for the CAA executive board positions rests fully with the GAA and any such nominations must be initiated by the national association.

In essence, the GOC, even if it was not suspended, does not have the power to nominate anybody for a position on the African Athletics governing body; the only group that can do so is the Professor Francis Dodoo-led GAA, which is the national athletics governing body.

For its part, the IAAF, has subsequently written to the GAA to say the CAA did the right thing in rebuffing Mr. Appiah and the GOC, and to reaffirm their support for the Dodoo-led GAA.

In his March 29, 2011 correspondence to Professor Francis Dodoo, Mr. Pierre Weiss the Secretary-General of the IAAF writes: “your NOC is currently suspended and IOC does not recognise anyone there”.

This latest blunder represents a cold, calculated attempt to defraud an international sporting body for personal gain.  At a time when logic and caution is needed given the suspension of the GOC, Mr. Appiah and Mr. Baba have embarked on an all-out campaign using any means necessary to cling onto power.

Today, Ghana’s self-proclaimed pseudo-champions of democratic dispensation and autonomy of national sporting associations are thumbing their noses at the IOC and other international bodies over governance issues; this is unprecedented.

After being disowned by the IOC and declared non-existent by international federations, the ghost of the GOC wants to function unabated. It now seeks to illegally surpass the powers of compliant (international standards) and well-respected national associations.

A couple of weeks ago, it was brought to light that the GOC (which is today, just Mr. Appiah and Mr. Baba) have filed a writ of summons against Parliament, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Attorney General’s Department. In their view, the legitimate and much needed amendment to the offending part of the current sports law amounts to an illegal action.

On what grounds is a defunct organization not recognised by the IOC, by international federations (global and continental), by national federations or by the government of Ghana file such a complaint?  Only in Ghana!!!

Sorry to say that the latest blunder by Frank Appiah and co. is a continuation of the trend of arrogance and disdain for national and international processes meant to harmonize sports administration in Ghana.

The other co-conspirator: Sandy Osei-Agyeman

It’s noteworthy that the man who Mr. Appiah tried to nominate for the continental athletics position, Sandy Osei-Agyeman, is already a member of the same body, the Council of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), having been elected three years ago. Mind you, Mr. Osei-Agyemang got onto the CAA by virtue of his appointment as chairman of the GAA.

Mr. Osei-Agyeman is seeking re-election to his post but interestingly he chose to not communicate his intentions to the GAA, the only institution with the power to nominate him.

Instead, it seems he chose to conspire with Mr. Appiah to not only circumvent the GAA, but also in the process try to portray the GAA as illegitimate so as to justify circumventing it.  Keep in mind that as the immediate past boss of the GAA and a member of the CAA, Mr. Osei-Agyeman is fully aware of the procedural issues concerning nominations.

Indeed, a source close to Mr. Sandy Osei Agyeman, revealed to this reporter that there was a discussion between Mr. Osei-Agyeman and the GOC Vice President, Frank Appiah on the issue before the nomination was sent to the CAA.

The source further revealed that Mr. Osei-Agyeman would still actively seek to contest for a slot on the Council despite the embarrassing revelations.  With the nominations deadline passed, however, it is not clear how this will be affected, given that Frank Appiah’s plot failed to trick the continental body.

Calls to Frank Appiah for his side of the story were not returned as his phone was off and it is claimed that he has travelled outside the country. His request to the CAA was sent on March 24, 2011.

Is B.T. BABA getting desperate?

It makes absolutely no sense that a group that benefited from three decades of appointments onto national federations (until 2009) is trying to frantically present itself as a champion of democracy.

Why did they not work to ensure that associations were democratically elected during the three “legitimate” terms of Mr. Baba’s reign as GOC president? Ironically, now that associations have been democratically elected, they are investing so much energy into trying to discredit those associations, and to ensure that the necessary legislation that will get Ghana back into the Olympic family does not come into being.

They are investing so much time in shady and clearly illegal misrepresentations. In the Delhi Commonwealth Games last October, the old GOC accredited Mr. Frank Appiah as Secretary-General of the GOC, a position that is actually held by Mr. Albert Tettey, who has probably parted ways with Baba and Appiah because he is reluctant to let his esteemed reputation be soiled by participating in the ongoing shenanigans of his former GOC colleagues.

Then, a few weeks ago in his letter to Parliament, Mr. B.T. Baba assumed that

Parliamentarians may not have seen the IOC Road Map and so he tried to con the distinguished members of that august house into believing that the IOC Road Map had indicated that his GOC should oversee the elections of the various national associations; the truth is that the Road Map clearly left that oversight in the hands of the respective international federations.

Certainly, we understand that Baba and Appiah prefer to go to the GOC Congress with the old associations because that is the only way they stand the chance of getting re-elected; despite becoming the GOC boss after the 1996 Olympics he still does not think he has had a long enough reign. He must understand that all of us have to live with the results, once the international federations ratify our associations.

The reason he does not want the new law coming into existence is that it acknowledges the authority of the international federations and the Ghanaian sports associations they have already ratified. Baba would like to see new association elections once there is a new law, which is ironic for a man who refused to move Ghana to an elective dispensation when he was GOC boss.

That is his problem with the revision of the law. Unfortunately, any new law that does not accept the legitimacy of the new associations will again run Ghana afoul of the IOC simply because the international federations have already ratified our existing associations, and any attempt to change them will constitute, yes, that word again, “interference”. B.T. Baba and his appointed cronies need to understand that the game is over.

Instead of trying to hold Ghana sports hostage to effect what cannot be legitimately effected, B.T. Baba and Appiah have to live with that!

I believe it is about time someone reined in the activities of Mr. Frank Appiah and Mr. B.T. Baba since it is increasingly becoming clear that they are desperate to cling onto power by any means necessary be it legal or illegal.

If this is not done they stand to run Ghana into a more permanent suspension from the IOC and even the other international federations.

By Erasmus Kwaw

Email: [email protected]

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