Lawyer for Investigative Journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Sammy Darko, has taken on the Referees Association of Ghana (RAG) for pardoning all referees who were caught taking bribe in the much publicized Number 12 expose.
RAG in a letter dated 15th June, 2022 and addressed to all suspended referees said the National Council of the Association at its meeting on 6th June decided to pardon the referees who were suspended after the expose.
According to the letter, those referees who have been pardoned will be admitted as full members of RAG and have been encouraged to register for the 2021/2022.
This pardon however excludes Referees who sued the Investigative Journalist following the expose which changed the face of Ghana football for sometime.
Below is the full letter from RAG which was signed by Alex Atuahene Anning, the General Secretary of the Association.
Reacting to the contents of the letter, an obviously enraged Sammy Darko said he could not fathom why the Association would embark on such en mass pardon of all 74 Referees as according to him, it sets the country back in its fight against corruption.
Below is his full write up:
This just got to my attention:
Referee’s Association of Ghana (RAG) has pardoned all 74 referees caught in Number 12
En masse pardon of referees caught in Anas No.12 documentary is completely wrong and sets us back on the corruption fight.
Yes, the president even pardons criminals. But that pardon is based on reasonable grounds- so many of them, either the person has changed, ill health etc.
RAG cannot say they have pardoned all 74 referees who were suspended for accepting bribes to manipulate match results when there has not been any known programme of rehabilitation, or remorse or no known steps put in place to ensure prevention of such misconduct or deterrence.
Pardoning en masse is contrary to public interest without the above conditions. What they did affected not just our football but our image as a country, our integrity. It affected the lives of many. It even affected the ‘betting/gaming community’. The action of RAG reinforces our culture of corruption. That corruption is indeed a norm, part of our DNA. How we just ‘free corrupt persons and how we protect corrupt persons’, simply amazing.
If RAG thinks we don’t have many referees and need more, they can begin by hiring and training and reforming the old ones. That in my opinion is a better option. Else why do we jail politicians and public officials who engage in corruption?
I see a grand scheme by the football fraternity to bring up the old corrupt persons in football who were fished out by Number 12. Already, intel suggest how this current FA is working hard to free it’s members who were caught in Number 12.
They started with Saanie Daara with so called ethics committee clearing him without recourse to evidence and law.
It is bad and we must stop it. As a country, we need to take corruption seriously and as a people we must demand accountability and transparency from those we put in charge of affairs be it football or management of the economy or an association.
Can you imagine if the Judiciary also says, they are pardoning the over 30 judges who were implicated in Judiciary scandal by Anas for them to return to the bench?
Just sometimes, this whole fight against corruption becomes meaningless. It’s like someone saying ‘ who sent you, have we told you we want to get rid of corruption’. A nation that fights those who fight corruption, fights those who even say corruption is wrong let’s stop it -even those who return unjust money in their opinion and praises those who keep quiet and/ or engage in it.