Friday, February 13, 2009

Confessions of Kotoko CEO...I TOOK CASH FROM FANS...Who scaled Stadium walls (GRAPHIC SPORTS, LEAD STORY)

Coming events cast their shadows, so the sages say. So even before the Presidential Inquiry into the deaths at the Baba Yara Stadium last Sunday begins, interesting developments are emerging.
Yesterday, Kumasi Asante Kotoko’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Sylvester Asare Owusu, said he received a total cash of GH¢820 from some fans who scaled the walls into the Baba Yara Stadium to watch the epic league match between Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak.
He, however, explained that some supporters of the club, on his advice, did the actual collection of money and that the money was eventually handed over to him.
The police had accused the management of Asante Kotoko of contributing to the overcrowding at the stadium, which left four people dead and others hospitalised.
Police said, for instance, that the management blatantly refused their advice to close the gates when it was realised that the stadium was full.
Again, the police said they saw Mr. Asare -Owusu holding a Zoomlion dustbin collecting money from a large number of fans as they scaled the wall into the stadium at the area behind the scoreboard.
Police Inspector Yusif Mohammed Tanko, Ashanti Regional Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), told the Graphic Sports that the police also arrested one B. K. Asamoah, a supporter of the club, who was collecting money from fans jumping the wall into the stadium.
The PRO said when the police questioned Asamoah, he said he was working on the instructions of Mr. Asare-Owusu.
“Consequently, Asamoah led us to Mr. Asare-Owusu, who was also seen with a

similar litter bin collecting monies at unauthorised points”, he added.
But, reacting to the police allegation, Mr. Asare-Owusu told Kumasi-based Angel FM yesterday morning that, whilst in the stadium last Sunday, someone informed him that a number of fans were scaling the walls into the stadium behind the scoreboard.
“I quickly rushed to the area with four soldiers and realised that the information was true and what was even more disturbing was that the police personnel at the area looked on unconcerned.
He said he also had information that some of the policemen were engaged in illegal collection of gate proceeds from fans who were using unauthorised points to enter the stadium.
The Kotoko CEO pointed out that under the circumstances the best option was for some dedicated supporters to use te litterbins to collect the monies for the club because the fans would have entered the stadium free of charge.
In his reaction however, Inspector Tanko said Mr. Asare-Owusu himself was a player in the whole drama of overcrowding.
“I even doubt the GH¢820 he mentioned was realised because he himself and Asamoah were engaged in the exercise”. Inspector Tanko said.
He dismissed the assertion by Mr. Asare-Owusu that some policemen were seen collecting illegal monies from the fans asking, “If they indeed saw any policemen, did they report to any senior officer?”
Inspector Tanko said it had never been the duty of the police to collect gate fees saying the police go to the stadium to maintain law and order/.
He again wondered the logic in a statement by the Kotoko management that more than 10,000 tickets remained unsold last Sunday when even tickets bearing Kotoko-Kessben league match were sold at the gates.
“Meanwhile the Ashanti Regional Police Administration says it had launched it own investigations into the developments at the stadium last Sunday.
The Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwaku Ayesu-Opare-Addo said the police took a very serious view of attempts by the Kotoko management to shift blame and welcomed the presidential inquiry into the matter.

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