By Victoria Soglo
Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko have been embroiled in a bribery scandal, amid claims the club attempted to bribe a referee during their Special Competition match against Ashantigold at the weekend.
Retired referee Robert Tawiah Mensah is alleging one Kofi Oduro, who claims to have close ties with Kotoko chairman Dr Kwame Kyei is demanding a refund of a supposed GH 8,000 he paid to the match officials.
He claims one Kofi Oduro nicknamed “Shishilla” has been hounding him with calls to get a refund of the cash after the Porcupine Warriors lost 1-0 in Obuasi.
The bribery allegation has ruffled feathers in Kumasi as it put the credibility of the Ghanaian powerhouse on the line.
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“It’s true that before the Ashanti Gold SC match with Kotoko, monies were given to the match officials by a Kotoko official. I was Techiman when the operations manager of Kotoko called ‘Shishila’ said he wants to meet the Referees for the match who were coming from Tamale” Referee Mensah told Nimde3 FM
“He [Shishila] said he has money for the officials led by Referee Ali Alhassan, so a meeting should be held in Techiman since the referees said they can’t meet us in Tamale after I called them”
“Shishila came to Techiman with a Nissan Visen numbered AS 2988 – 18 to talked with that we can leave for Tamale to meet the referees for their match against Ashanti Gold”
“We met the Referees at the Tamale STC yard and gave them an undisclosed amount of money which was in a black polythene bag”
“He gave me 500 cedis for helping him to meet the referees because he said his team needed the points badly”
“After the match, he [Shishila] called me that he wants to retrieve his money from the referees because they failed to deliver as they promised”
“He called the referees also told them he needs his 8000 cedis because they couldn’t help his side to beat Ashanti Gold” he added
The damning allegation is a massive test for the Ghana FA Normalisation Committee to probe further into the matter.
Allegations of bribery and corruption have crippled local football for many years in the West African Nation.
Kotoko are desperate to qualify from their group in the ongoing Special Competition.
They have a crunch tie against Medeama at home on Sunday before traveling to Dorma to battle Aduana Stars.
Only a win against Medeama and perhaps a draw against Aduana would see them advance into the semis.
But with the latest bribery claims gaining currency in the local media, it’s unclear if it will cloud their preparations for the tough test against the Mauve and Yellows in Kumasi this weekend.