Friday, March 24

Minister Badjie defends allowance payment to wife

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The Minister of Youth and Sports, Bakary Y. Badjie has explained why his wife received allowances for both the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England and the Konya Islamic Games in Turkey amid waves of public criticism.

A viral letter to GNOC dated 21st July instructed the payment of £200 for per-diem each day for 14 days to the Minister’s wife, as an accompanying guest throughout the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in England and Islamic Games in Konya, Turkey – something Mr. Badjie confirmed.

The minister explained how his wife was included in the delegation as an “accompanying guest,” making her fit to be paid per-diem. “Yes, it is allowed because it is not done behind back door. This was done through a normal process,” he told Kerr Fatou.

“There was an invitation from the Commonwealth Secretariat and the GNOC. Both letters came through Foreign Affairs. GNOC came directly to us and the invitation is for the Commonwealth Games. The Minister is accorded what is called ‘accompanying guest,’ the Minister, the GNOC President and the Secretary General of the GNOC,” he explained.

These three are accorded with ‘accompanying guest’ that are part of the delegation. The accompanying guest is different from the delegates. The accompanying guest is normally the spouse of the holder of that office. And the letter came to us and we acted on it, filled in the names accordingly with my wife being there as an accompanying guest, and the other officials also having their spouses there, as accompanying guests. And that’s how it happened,” Minister Badjie explained in a Kerr Fatou interview.

Speaking about the source of the funds paid to them as allowances; he said: “The government contributed; government did not put 100 percent funding. Government contributed, the IOC through the GNOC also put in funds. So, it was a basket through which all the funds went into. The payment was not necessarily done from a government treasury, it was done from the funds that were at the GNOC; it was the combination of our contribution and GNOC contribution” he further explained.

However, Minister Badjie confirmed that his wife didn’t travel to the Commonwealth Games because she was denied a visa, but she travelled to Turkey, and thus received allowances for both events.