LAWYERS FOR George Afriyie, a member of the Executive Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), have exposed the illegality in attempts by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to pry into the activities and operations of the association.

The SFO, through its Acting Executive Director in charge of operations, Charles N.A. Akrong, wrote to the president of the GFA, Kwasi Nyantakyi, authorizing him to furnish them with information and documents pertaining to a sponsorship deal between the FA and mobile giants Globacom for the professional league.

The SFO also made demands for the FA to furnish them with contract documents between the FA and Midsea Company Limited, Afrisat (TV production company), Renee Williams (nature of relationship), and all payments from Globacom since the inception of the deal.

The SFO further requested documents on all payments in respect of contracts with Midsea Company Limited, all agency documents if any and contract documents with Onetouch (Vodafone GH) in respect of the GFA/Globacom sponsorship deal.

But in a sharp and swift response, lawyers for Mr. Afriyie filed a suit at an Accra High Court seeking to stop the SFO from prying into its private activities, describing the request as a clear illegality.

That notwithstanding, they noted with emphasis that “the management of funds provided to the GFA by private individuals, persons and entities involve no financial or economic loss to the State or to any State organization or other institutions in which the State has financial interest, for which reason it does not fall within the province of 1st respondent (SFO) to monitor with a view to detecting any crime (s) likely to cause financial or economic loss to the State.”

Mr. Afriyie is thus seeking the court’s authority to prevent the SFO from perpetrating this act of illegality.

He averred that what the SFO is seeking to do falls outside its statutory mandate to investigate or monitor financial and economic loss to the State, since the use and management of such funds resulting from the sponsorship packages involve no (let alone serious) financial or economic loss to the State or to any State organization or other institutions in which the State has financial interest.

He thus stressed the need for the SFO to act strictly within its statutory remit, asking the court to intervene before the SFO proceeds to use its powers to compel the FA to succumb to what he describes as ‘its illegal, unreasonable and irrational request’.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu