B&FT: GETFund brouhaha must not dive us unduly

GETFUND2 File Photo

Sat, 29 Feb 2020 Source: Business & Financial Times

Ever since the beginning of the week, both social media and media houses in the country, have been awash with comments from Ghanaians from all walks of life on the recent Auditor- General’s report indicating that some well-placed individuals in society benefited from a GETFund scholarship scheme meant for ‘brilliant but needy’ student.

While opinions are divided over whether or not certain well placed people in society who benefited from the GETFund scholarship can be classified as needy, the B&FT finds the issue quite befuddling. The definition of a ‘needy’ person is not far-fetched.

According to the third edition of the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, a needy person as an adjective is ‘poor and not having enough food, clothes etc’, while as plural noun: ‘the needy, is defined as poor people.

Based on the above definitions, we cannot wrap ourselves over the fact that parliamentarians cannot be classified as poor people in the classic sense of the word, so how do they qualify as being needy. This is a clear case of abuse of power, or better still, influence peddling.

What is adding insult to injury is the lengths some are engaging in trying to justify the indefensible. To stretch the argument even further, the World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$1.90 per day, and moderate poverty less than US$ 3.10 a day. Can these well-placed individuals of Ghanaian society really beat their chest and claim they fit into either brackets? Your guess is as good as us!

We are even at loss that certain people whose names were found on the list but claim they did not receive the facility would be pointing their guns at the Administrator to find out who benefited from those funds are rather up in arms with the AG.

Another worrying development is how the Auditor-General is being assailed and denigrated for simply performing his constitutional duty. Are we saying there should be no oversight in the public sphere? Without accountability our democracy would be worthless and as nation, we need to take cognizance of that.

The Principal Auditor at the Audit Service, Albert Awoo, explained that the audit also sought to discover whether GETFund, was acting in tandem with its mandate. We believe this is a very legitimate course to pursue in view of the fact that the GETFund Act 2000, Act 581 has a specific mandate.

Objective (b) of the Act is quite specific and that is ‘to provide supplementary funding to the Scholarship Secretariat for the grant of scholarships of gifted but needy students for studies in the second-cycle and accredited tertiary institutions in Ghana’.

The persons cited were given scholarships to pursue studies abroad. Need we say more?

Source: Business & Financial Times
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