Specific provisions breached by GETFund in scholarship scandal

Scholarships Ghana New Dr Prince Armah, Adwoa Sarfo and Matthew Opoku Prempeh were implicated in the GETFund scandal

Fri, 28 Feb 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Defence strategies have been raised by public officials and their cohorts who have been implicated in the Auditor-General’s report on the GETFund scholarship scandal, but laws remain laws.

The debate about whether these public office holders, notably – Education Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Procurement Minister, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo as well as, son of NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, Executive Secretary of NaCCA, Dr Prince Armah – infringed on the provisions of the GETFund Act has been set on the political divide.

Officials from the two political parties have since Monday, February 24, 2020, called for the heads of their opponents while others have maintained their allegiance to their ‘compatriots’, despite the rot.

But questions some Ghanaians have asked bothers on the legality of the actions and inactions of officials and who should be sanctioned.

GhanaWeb in this article seeks to highlight some specific sections of the GETFund Act 584 blatantly breached by authorities involved.

The Audit Service sought to "ascertain whether GETFund acted in accordance with its mandate as stated in the GETFund Act, 2000 (Act 581) with regards to the administration of funds for scholarships."

But this audit revealed a total breach of the GETFund Act specifically in relation to;

Sponsorship for needy but gifted students

The GETFund Act 2000, states in all clarity in Section 2.2d; “to provide through the National Council of Tertiary Education, grants to tertiary institutions, (i) to train brilliant students as members of faculties…”

Clearly, that wasn’t the case as some persons who were listed to have benefitted from the scholarship were then public officers or have been described to have had influential families.

The excuses so far, in the view of some Ghanaians have been unconvincing. For Sarah Adwoa Safo who now serves as the Procurement Minister, her reason for accepting the scholarship was to “enable me to serve my constituents, parliament and nation better.”

The Education Minister also argues that at the time he was awarded the US$ 11,200 tuition and US$12,800 living allowance scholarship for the three-week course, he was only a member of parliament.

And the NaCCa boss also has given an excuse that he received his scholarship in an erstwhile administration and he was indeed needy at the time.

NDC’s General Secretary Johnson Aseidu Nketia whose son benefitted from the scheme holds that he had long retired from parliament and thus could not afford the cost of educating his son.

Sponsorship for schools in Ghana

The GETFund Act also further places emphasis in Section 2.2b “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 on the fact that scholarships are to be given to schools in Ghana…”

But this as well was blatantly disregarded without any form of amendments to the laws that govern the scheme.

Out of the over 3,000 awards, more than 2,000 were given to persons to study diverse courses abroad.

Courses some Ghanaians believe are equally offered in public institutions in the country.

Some beneficiaries listed were awarded to study; Accounting, Public Policy, Development studies, General Medicine, Nursing, Statistics and; Fashion Design and Textiles abroad.

Sponsorship must be given in consultation with the Minister and Board

However, the section of the GETFund Act on which some implicated authorities seem to seek refuge in is Section 2.2(e) “to provide monies to support such other educational activities and programmes for the promotion of education as the Minister in consultation with the Board may determine.”

With this, authorities can give scholarships to persons they deem fit and for the greater good but in broader consultation.

But the Audit Service report revealed that no such consultations were made in almost all the scholarships awarded.

GETFund awarded scholarships from 2009 solely based on the provisions of this subsection.

Thereby infringing on all other provisions of the Act. Which subsequently skewed the selection process.

In actual fact, the Audit Service stated that the selection process was “non-structured, unfair, dominated by one person and porous.”

Some concerned stakeholders have turned to President Nana Akufo-Addo who is currently on a 12-day tour to Europe to cause heads to roll, on his return.

While others have called for a total overhaul of the GETFund system, others hold that just like any other scandal it would be soon forgotten in the heat of the December polls.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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