Ghana’s Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Pius Hadzide has been suspended as an investigation begins into an alleged visa scam which led to 60 Ghanaians being arrested when trying to attend the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
A statement from Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo confirmed the suspension of Hadzide.
Acting director general of the National Sports Authority, Robert Sarfo Mensah, has been given the same sanction.
"This decision has been taken following preliminary investigations conducted into the circumstances that led to the arrest of some 60 Ghanaians, who had allegedly attempted to enter Australia by false pretences," the statement reads.
"The President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Ben Nunoo Mensah; the Board chairman of the National Sports Authority, Kwadwo Baah Agyeman; and the Chef de Mission for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Mohammed Sahnoon, have also been recalled from the Games to assist in investigations currently being undertaken by the Criminal Investigation Department of the police service."
The supposed Ghanaian journalists travelled to Australia with the country’s delegation for the Games.
They reportedly claimed they were there to cover the Games, but were ultimately stopped by border officials.
The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) and the Commonwealth Games Association of Ghana have released a statement asserting that the Ministry of Youth and Sports had requested national security to investigate.
Both organisations claim they welcome the investigation, following claims the Sports Ministry, National Sports Authority and the GOC have been accused of facilitating the acquisition of the visas.
It followed the travel documents presented by the affected individuals reportedly being genuine even though they did not appear to be journalists.
"We welcome any investigation into the matter to expose those involved in this fraudulent conduct," Sahnoon said.
"We, however, wish to plead with you all that at this moment our focus, thoughts and prayers must be with our athletes."
Ghana finished the Games with a solitary bronze medal, which was won by men’s under-64 kilograms boxer Jessie Lartey.
It meant the country finished short of their pre-Games target of five medals.