The Police at the Ministries have invited Joy News investigator Manasseh Azure-Awuni over forgery allegations by E-volutions, the company at the centre of the ¢1 million World Cup kickback scandal.
The company claims signatures on payment vouchers to three separate public officials including former Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah were forged and has since lodged a complaint with the police.
Joy News investigator Manasseh Azure-Awuni broke the story about how E-volutions won a contract of GH¢ 1 million to organise four public viewing centres in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi for all matches during the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
He also disclosed with hard documentary evidence how former Sports Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Chief Procurement Officer with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, (GNPC) Samuel Ledo and the operations committee of the Brazil 2014 World Cup were allegedly paid the sums of ¢100,000, ¢100,000 and ¢80,000 respectively.
All the three payment vouchers, dated June 11, 2014, were signed and approved by the C.E.O of E-volution International, Mr Fred Darko.
Mr Fred Darko was also the project coordinator for the 2014 World Cup.
Lawyer, Company Secretary and Director for E-Volution International, Alex Abban, told Joy News the company did not make any payment to the three categories of persons. When he was asked about the payment vouchers he denied the existence of the documents, claiming they were forged.
Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah has since denied taking any money. So has the Operations Committee of the World Cup.
When the Chief Procurement Officer at GNPC Samuel Ledo was contacted he initially denied but when he was confronted with the documentary evidence he made a u-turn but said the payment was for purely private transaction which he would not disclose.
In a surprising twist to the scandal, E-volutions international has proceeded to the Police with a claim the payment vouchers were fabricated and the signatures forged.
Manasseh Azure-Awuni told Myjoyonline.com he was called by a police man who said he wanted to “interrogate” him about the forged signatures.
The invitation and subsequent demand for interrogation appears to have angered a private legal practitioners who has described the police’s conduct as “laughable.”
“It’s an invitation, so let’s not panic. Manasseh can freely elect to honour or not to honour. It seizes to be an invitation if there is a compulsion to honour to it,” he told Joy News’ Evans Mensah.
While he agrees that journalists, like other citizens have a duty and responsibility to assist the police with investigations, he would rather Manasseh declined this invitation.
He said the claims of forgery emanated from an identifiable office and from identifiable persons and those characters, including the alleged beneficiaries of the payment are the ones to be answering questions from the police and not a journalist who stumbled on the information.
He said the individuals named also have a right to a rejoinder and a civil suit if it is the case they feel libeled or slandered by the reports but appealed to the police to do a more diligent work.