FIFA can`t stop us: Ghana`s commission

Accra: The presidential commission of inquiry set up to investigate Ghana`s participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil began work here despite a warning from the world football governing body, FIFA.

But the commission said it would not be intimidated by FIFA or any other organisation.

The three-man commission was established by President John Dramani Mahama to probe reports and allegations relating to the Black Stars` abysmal performance at the World Cup, reports Xinhua.

The national team, referred to as Black Stars, failed to make it past the first round after they picked up just a point from three group games played against the United States, Germany and Portugal.

FIFA has expressed concerns about the commission, saying it violated the body`s statutes of barring the involvement of government in the administration of football, leading to fears that the country could face a ban.

In a letter dated Aug 7 and signed by Deputy General Secretary of FIFA, Markus Kattner, the body warned the country to stay clear of the affairs of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and to respect the autonomy of the federation or risk sanctions.

However, the commission started its work Monday, saying it would not be intimidated by FIFA or any organisation.

Justice Senyo Dzamefe, chairman of the commission, said FIFA could not stop it from carrying out its duties, citing the sovereign independence of Ghana backed by the constitution that set up the commission.

"Ghana is a sovereign state. The highest law of the land is the constitution. It is the president of Ghana who has set up this commission of inquiry backed by constitutional Instrument (C.I.82) and we have all the independence to do our job," he said.

"We will not be intimidated by anybody. We will do our work. The only person who can stop us is the one who gave us this job, that is, the President of the Republic of Ghana and nobody else," said Justice Dzamefe, who is also an appeals court judge.

He said the commission would respond to the FIFA warning letter at an appropriate time.

A member of the commission, Moses Foh Amoaning, cautioned journalists who might be reporting on the commission`s work to be circumspect in what they write.

The commission, which has the powers of a high court in Ghana, adjourned its sitting to Wednesday following the inability of the representatives of the Bank of Ghana to appear before it, even though officials of three other state institutions - ministries of finance, foreign affairs as well as youth and sports showed up.

The commission will inquire into matters relating to the team`s preparation for the tournament and possible lapses therein which might have caused their early exit from the tournament.

It will also inquire into matters relating to the treatment of Ghanaian football fans sent to support the Black Stars and advise government on the financing of activities of the Black Stars and other national teams.

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