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Ghana to investigate soccer association president over use of World Cup funds

06/13/2015 11:02 EDT | Updated 06/13/2016 05:59 EDT
ACCRA, Ghana - Ghana has opened an investigation into how the head of the country's soccer association spent $200,000 in government money meant to prepare for the 2014 World Cup, according to a report released this week.

The probe of Kwesi Nyantakyi will begin immediately and investigators will also conduct an audit to review claims the national team incurred more than $1 million in debt during friendly matches against Cape Verde, Nigeria and Togo, said the report issued Thursday night.

The soccer association has not explained the debt in detail. It has said $350,000 received following a friendly match with Japan was used to offset the debt — a claim that will also be scrutinized.

Officials will also determine whether fees for matches against Holland and South Korea were paid to the soccer association. President John Dramani Mahama's cabinet had asked the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation to fund the matches, according to the report.

The soccer association "must make available all contracts for friendly matches played" and name all match agents involved, the report said.

Ghana's investigation comes amid rising concern about corruption in soccer. In May the U.S. Department of Justice indicted 14 people on corruption charges related to soccer, seven of whom were arrested in Zurich ahead of the FIFA congress. The crisis, the worst in FIFA's 111-year history, led to the resignation of the organization's president, Sepp Blatter.

The Justice Department's indictment accuses senior South African officials of channeling $10 million to some of FIFA's top executives as bribes to gain their backing for the country's bid to host the 2010 World Cup. South African authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into the bribery allegations.

Ghana's soccer association cancelled a press conference Friday at which it had been expected to discuss the report. In an interview with the BBC earlier this month, Nyantakyi lamented "a lack of respect for Africans" and disputed claims of corruption by African soccer officials.

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