|The GFA Ethics Committee has found Techiman City FC and Wa African United guilty of bribery and match fixing after investigations into their Match day 22 game played at the Damongo Park.
The Committee has therefore pronounced its sanctions on the two clubs and individuals involved in accordance with Article 68(2) of the GFA Disciplinary Code.
Below is the full decision of the GFA Ethics Committee:
GFA ETHICS COMMITTEE
FINAL REPORT ON ALLEGED MATCH-FIXING AND BRIBERY CASE BETWEEN WA AFRICAN UNITED AND TECHIMAN CITY FC
SUMMARY OF FACTS/INTRODUCTION
Pursuant to the GFA Code of Ethics 18(1) and 19 of the GFA Regulations, the Ghana Football Association Ethics Committee was tasked by the GFA Appeals Committee to re-look and investigate the allegation of bribery and match-fixing between Wa African United FC and Techiman City FC in the 2014/15 GN Bank Division One League Week 22 match played at the Damongo Park, and come up with its findings and/or recommendations.
Wa African United in an earlier letter dated 29th July, 2015, informed the GFA that the said match between the two sides was a fixed one.
Wa African United further alleged in the said letter that they were given GH¢2,000.00 (Two Thousand Ghana Cedis) by Techiman City FC as well as other payments for feeding to play a match of convenience.
FIRST SITTING HELD ON THURSDAY DECEMBER 31, 2015 AT THE GFA SECRETARIAT
The Ethics Committee served notice to all parties and held its first sitting on Thursday 31st December, 2015 at the GFA Secretariat in Accra.
The Chief Executive Officer of Wa African United, Nana Gyamerah Kwabena Yiakwan II was unable to attend the sitting because he was outside the country. The Lawyer for the club, Mr. Yahaya Seidu informed the Committee that their key witnesses were going to be the Team Manager and Coach of the club. He added that in due time, they would provide additional documentary evidence to back their case.
The Committee took evidence from the Team Manager, Kofi Adam and the Coach of Wa African United, Baah Yaw Suleman respectively.
From the evidence given by the two of them, it was brought to light that:
1. Nana Gyamerah Kwabena Yiakwan II, CEO of the club called the two (Team Manager and Coach of Wa African) on separate occasions telling them to accept a bribe from someone from Techiman City FC.
2. According to the Coach of the team, Nana Gyamerah Kwabena Yiakwan ll told him that Mr. Charles Kwadwo Ntim, President of Techiman City had earlier called him asking him to give away the match.
3. Both the Coach and the Team Manager said they were reluctant initially to follow the instruction from the CEO of the club.
4. According to them the CEO of WA Africa United said he was under pressure as he has received several calls from the Charles Kwadwo Ntim, the President of Techiman City FC to try and help them fix the match.
5. The Team Manager and the Coach said that someone called them subsequently and the person introduced himself as Yaw Adamu Acheampong the Team Manager of the club.
6. However, after the Pre-match meeting they realized that he was not the Team Manager of the club but an official of the club.
7. The Team Manager and Coach of Wa African United stated that they both met Mr. Yaw Adamu Acheampong and took an amount of GH¢2,000.00 (Two Thousand Ghana Cedis) as earlier agreed between the CEO of their club and that of Techiman City.
8. The Team Manager of Wa African United alleged that the said Yaw Adamu Acheampong also sent him money earlier through MTN Mobile money as feeding cost for the team and the referees, and to arrange for a hotel and hire student mattress for the Techiman City team when they arrive in Techiman. He further alleged that he made these arrangements for the Techiman City team and personally led them to the said hotel (St Charles Guest House) in Damongo.
9. The first half of the match was played competitively, according to the Team Manager and the Coach and this led to Techiman City FC players complain about why the WA Africa United FC players were playing the match so hard.
10. According to both the Team Manager and the Coach of Wa African United, during the second half of the match, the referee was attacked by a fan of the club after he allowed what they refer to as an “offside goal”. This they said led to the stoppage of the match and the match was called off. Soon after the rain followed.
11. However, the Team Manager of Wa African United alleged that he agreed with the Match Commissioner and the Referee that the match should be declared 1-0 in favor of Techiman City FC.
12. The Team Manager indicated that after some days, the CEO of the club called to inform him that Techiman City had surprisingly filed a protest against their club for which they have been fined GH¢3,000 and suffered a deducted of (6)six points from their accumulated points.
13. This actually infuriated them and the Team Manager admitted that it is for this reason that they chose to report the alleged bribery and match fixing case to the Ghana Football Association for an action to be taken because they believe Techiman City had treated them unfairly.
Members of the Ethics Committee asked various questions from the witnesses of the complainants/petitioners to seek clarification and solicit evidential materials, if available. They promised to make available to the Ethics Committee evidence they can readily lay hands on. The hearing with the Petitioners was therefore called to an end for the day.
The Lawyer for the respondents/defendants, Mr. Larbi Amoah raised an objection against the committee’s regarding the letter inviting the CEO & President of Techiman City FC, Charles Kwadwo Ntim to appear before the committee.
They also wanted to know if their President is appearing before the Committee as a target witness or just to assist with the investigations. Furthermore, Counsel for Techiman City FC indicated that they have a couple of preliminary objections to would like to raise.
The Vice Chairman took the opportunity to apologize to Techiman City on behalf of the Committee for mistakenly indicating 10pm on the letter of invitation, instead of 10am to appear before the committee.
On noticing the error, the secretary to the Ethics Committee made a follow-up call to the Techiman City FC President and an email subsequently sent to the Club to correct the unfortunate error. Even though they made themselves available for proceedings, the Vice Chairman asked if they were comfortable with the time interval between the date of the correction and the sitting date.
They responded that they were not okay with that and would require the normal three days notification. Vice Chairman acceded to their demand and told the defendants to put all their objections and demands into writing and present to the committee before its next sitting, which they obliged.
The Vice Chairman told all parties that the Committee will issue them with new letters of invitations to appear before it and asked Techiman City to submit their written preliminary objections before that date. The case was then adjourned to Thursday 7th January, 2016 after discussing with all parties involved.
SECOND SITTING HELD ON THURSDAY JANUARY 7, 2016 AT THE GFA SECRETARIAT
The two parties were served notice of this meeting on Thursday 31st December, 2015 and were sent reminders to attend the meeting. Both parties appeared at the sitting held on Thursday January 7, 2016 at the GFA Secretariat. However Techiman City FC who earlier agreed to present their written objections to the Committee failed to submit it before the meeting commenced.
The Spokesperson/Advisor for Techiman City FC, Mr. Kofi Manu raised a preliminary objection on the inclusion of three of the members of the Ethics Committee hearing the case. According to him, the reason for their objection is because the three members were part of the earlier case which was set aside by the Appeals Committee. The Spokesperson cited Article 82. 2(d) and 4 of the GFA Disciplinary code to back his objection. The Vice Chairman overruled the objection citing various authorities to back his ruling. Reference was made to the case of Bilson v Apaloo […] and the Judges v Attorney General of Saskatchwan[…]
The Spokesperson of Techiman City further cited Article 35 of the GFA General Regulations which according to him the issue at hand ought to be resolved by the Disciplinary Committee and not necessarily the Ethics Committee which includes the three members earlier mentioned. The Chairman over-ruled that objection stating that the issue at hand bothers on Ethics and thus must be dealt with by the Ethics Committee of the GFA.
Besides, by his own argument and logic, when the case was first brought up to the Ethics Committee why didn’t they raise an objection and went ahead to provide evidence at the said meeting. Again, by the same logic, why did they (Techiman City FC) revel in the overturn of the Ethics Committee’s decision by the Appeal Committee to disqualify the then vice chairman and their decision to refer the matter back to the Ethics Committee for fresh hearing?
The Spokesperson of the Techiman City FC, Mr. Kofi Manu and the club’s lawyer, Mr. Larbi Amoah then stated that they did not intend to appear before a committee who they believe will be biased. He therefore stated that they intend to appeal the Chairman’s ruling on the objections raised and will not continue with the sitting. The Chairman drew his attention to the fact that they can appeal after the final determination for case.
The Chairman also reminded Techiman City FC that they failed to present their written objections as requested at the first sitting thus the committee will continue proceedings. The Chairman implored the defendants to sit in and allow the proceedings to go on so as to assist the Committee gather evidence for a resolution of the case.
The Techiman City President, his lawyer and Spokesperson, indicated that they cannot be part of an illegality and decided not be part of the sitting of the committee based on the fact their objection was dismissed and they intend to appeal against that decision. With their insistence, they were granted their request to leave the hearing/sitting.
The Sitting however, continued and members continued their interrogation of the witnesses of Wa African United based on the evidence they promised to give at the last sitting which they reiterated in this new sitting. They also presented a team sheet purported to be the team sheet of Techiman City for that match in question. It was allegedly signed by Mr. Malik Yeboah (team manager of Techiman City FC).
It was revealed from the investigations that the Team Manager of Wa African United also interacted with Mr. Malik Yeboah before the Techiman City team arrived in Techiman. The complainants also provided the phone number of the said, Mr. Yaw Adamu Acheampong who allegedly paid the amount of GH¢2000 to the Team Manager and Coach of Wa African United to fix the match.
The Committee took evidence from the Chief Executive Officer of Wa African United, Nana Gyamera Yiakwan II via telephone at its sitting held on Saturday 30th December 2016. He stated that he had phone conversations with President of Techiman City, Charles Kwadwo Ntim ahead of the match. He added that he gave the phone number of his Team Manager to Mr. Yaw Adamu Acheampong, who acted as the middle man for Techiman City FC.
The CEO of Wa African United also mentioned in his evidence that the President of Techiman City FC prevailed on him to give up the match and that someone would come and see them to make the necessary arrangements to pay what has been agreed.
ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION OF EVIDENCE
1. The viva voca evidence obtained from both the Team Manager and the Coach of WA Africa United FC suggest a couple of telephone communication between Nana Kwabena Gyamerah Yiakwan ll, CEO of WA Africa United FC and Charles Kwadwo Ntim, President of Techiman City FC prior to the match that was allegedly agreed to be fixed.
2. It was confirmed by the Team Manager and the Coach of WA Africa united FC that there was exchange of money between the agent of Techiman City FC, Yaw Adamu Acheampong and themselves. The money was intended to influence the match in favour of Techiman City FC.
3. Contrary to earlier views held that the agent of Techiman City FC was the Team Manager, documents available revealed that the said agent, Yaw Adamu Acheampong was actually an official of the Club but not in the capacity as the Team Manager. This is evidenced by his name appearing on Referees Official list that was electronically generated and the Team Sheet presented and signed by the Team Manager and Captain of Techiman City FC itself.
4. The statement by the complainants vis-à-vis the posture of the Respondent at all material times during the sittings, leaves the committee in no doubt that this was a match of convenience agreed on by the two parties.
5. That instead of giving evidence to defend itself and debunk the allegations of bribery and match fixing made by WA Africa United FC, Techiman City FC has since the commencement of the hearing de novo resorted to technicalities/legalities to derail the course of collecting evidence from them.
6. The Committee observed and came to the conclusion that the conduct of both the Spokesperson/Advisor to Techiman City FC and its President was not acceptable as they disrupted the hearing on a number of occasions yelling at the slightest opportunity at the complainants.
7. The Committee also considered the documents used by the Disciplinary Committee in its ruling in Techiman City’s protest after the said match. This included an electronically generated Referee’s report which had Yaw Adamu Acheampong included as an official of Techiman City FC. The Committee took notice of the fact that at the time the Disciplinary Committee used the referee’s report in its ruling, the Ethics Committee process had not begun and actually Wa African United had not presented its complaints at that time. A referee’s Match Report is supposed to reach the GFA within 48 hours after a match. It is an official document, hence the Ethics Committee relied on it in its findings.
The Ethics Committee made the following observations:
1) The referee’s report was dated 14th July 2015 and electronically sent to the GFA
2) The match Commissioner’s report was dated 16 July 2015
3) Techiman City petitioned the Disciplinary Committee on 15th July
4) Wa Africa United reported case of alleged bribery and match-fixing on 29th July 2015
5) The Ethics Committee subsequently met on two occasions to determine the case
The Ethics committee observed that the referee’s report which captured Yaw Adamu Akyeampong as an official, preceded Techiman City’s petition to the Disciplinary committee as well as Wa Africa United’s allegation of bribery and match-fixing. The name could therefore not have been inserted by the referee in anticipation of a future case that would incriminate him. It can therefore be considered as good evidence without prejudice.
GFA ETHICS COMMITTEE’S DECISION/RULING & CONCLUSIONS
Allegations of bribery and match-fixing have become pervasive in football matches in the country. As a result, matches lack competitive spirit which ultimately compromises the integrity of the results. Sadly, apart from producing unworthy Champions, the nation risks stagnation in the growth and advancement of the game.
The Ethics Committee wishes to serve notice that it will not compromise any such negativity in our football and will therefore relentlessly pursue and sanction any club or official who indulges in this.
In arriving at its decision in the above case, the Committee took into consideration the verbal and documentary evidence given by the claimants (Wa African United) to prove their case. On the other hand the defendants (Techiman City FC) rather resorted to acts that were intended to frustrate and delay the process. The Committee believes that instead of putting in a defense in the substantive case, Techiman City FC was only interested in using technicalities to frustrate and delay the case.
Having considered the evidence adduced, the Committee has found the 2 teams (Techiman City and Wa African United) guilty of giving and receiving bribe with the intention of influencing the result of Match day 22 Division One League match between the two sides in Damongo.
In accordance with Article 68 (2) of the Disciplinary Code, Article 40 (4.3.6) and Article 40 (4.9) the Committee pronounces the following decisions:
1. The Committee is of the belief that indeed Techiman City FC offered bribe to Wa
African United ahead of their Match day 22 game in an attempt to influence the result of the match, which was accepted by Wa African United. The result of the said match between the two sides is therefore annulled, and Techiman City must lose the points accrued thereof.
2. For giving and accepting bribe aimed at influencing the results of their League match, the two Clubs i.e. Wa African United and Techiman City FC are hereby demoted to the next Division ( Division two)
3. The Team Manager (Kofi Adams) and Coach (Yaw Baah Suleman) both of Wa African United FC and Yaw Adamu Acheampong ( an official of Techiman City FC) are all banned for one year from all football related activities.
4. The Committee also severely reprimands the CEO of Techiman City FC, Mr. Charles Kwadwo Ntim and the Spokesperson/Advisor of Techiman City FC Mr. Kofi Manu, for showing gross disrespect to the Committee during its sittings. The committee also wishes to send notice that any future act or show of disrespect and ungentlemanly conduct displayed by ANYBODY appearing before it will be met with severe sanctions.
SIGNED: MR. FELIX ANYINSAH