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10.10.2006 Education

Witch Hunting Begins At Legon Presec

By public Agenda
Witch Hunting Begins At Legon Presec
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The Ghana Education Service (GES) has began a process of witch hunting at the Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School (PRESEC), following the exit of the school's former Headmaster, Mr. Joseph Jectey Asare and the Bursar, Mr. Sampong Gyeni.

The exit of the two followed the exposure of financial malfeasance after investigations conducted into their administration found allegations of corruption leveled against them by the "Concerned Teachers and Workers of PRESEC" to be true.

Now, after reluctantly redeploying the two men, the GES has turned the guns on the supposed "whistle blowers", making nonsense of the ongoing campaign for the protection of whistle blowers, as a first step to fighting corruption in public institutions.

A letter signed by Mrs. Akosua T. Adu, the Greater Accra Regional Director of Education dated October 2 to Mr. Frederick Addo-Yobo, the Assistant Headmaster ( Academics) at PRESEC stated , "Management has decided that in the interest of the Ghana Education Service, you have been transferred from the Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School, Legon, to the Regional Educational Office, Accra. The effective date is 16th October 2006. You are to hand over all school property before you leave the school."

Ironically, Mr. Addo-Yobo will be working in the same offices with Messrs Asare and Sampong at the Regional Educational Office Accra.

The assistant headmaster, who has served PRESEC for the past 16 years without any blemish, is one of many "whistle blowing" teachers at PRESEC who exposed the corrupt practices of Messrs Asare and Sampong, leading to the removal of the two men from the school recently.

But instead of rewarding him and the others for their watchdog role, the GES has rather written to inform him of his redeployment in a letter that was copied to the Acting Director-General of GES, the Director of the Secondary Education Division, the Acting Director of HRMD at the GES Headquarters, the Ga East District Director of Education, the Board Chairman of PRESEC, the Acting Headmistress of PRESEC and the Greater Accra Regional Accountant of GES.

Information available to Public Agenda indicates that Mr. Addo-Yobo is the first of 16 teachers penciled for punitive transfers. Their crime is that they have been at the forefront of a crusade embarked upon by the "Concerned Teachers and Workers of PRESEC" to expose corruption at the school.

This paper can confirm that some of the other names included in the hit list are Messrs Okai Ayittey, Oromasis Abbey, R.J.E. Baiden and Alex Yalley, all of whom were recommended for transfer by the Professor Djangmah-led Board of Directors of PRESEC on the grounds that an in-coming headmaster "will not feel comfortable" working with such loudmouthed persons.

It would be recalled that in November last year a group calling itself the "Concerned Teachers and Workers of PRESEC" that was led by the 'big five' namely, Messrs Addo-Yobo, Ayittey, Abbey, Baiden and Yalley leveled allegations of financial impropriety against Messrs Asare and Sampong in a petition presented to the Ga East District Directorate of Education.

Consequently, Mrs. Adu constituted a five-member committee comprising Mr. Konadu Antwi (Chairman), Chief Internal Auditor at the GES headquarters, Messrs Ofori Agyei, CHASS regional chairman and headmaster of Accra Academy, Osei Kwadwo, Regional Internal Auditor, GES (Accra), Peasah, GES Regional Accountant and Mrs. Elizabeth Amoako-Enimil, Ga East District Director of Education, with Mrs. Eva Awumey, serving as Secretary to the committee to investigate the allegations.

Although the committee submitted its final report to the Regional Director in April this year, which this paper is reliably told indicted the two officers, its contents have not been made public up to date, neither has there been any commitment towards the full implementation of the recommendations, except for the unenthusiastic redeployment of Messrs Asare and Sampong to the regional education directorate.

Prior to that redeployment, the report was kept "under lock and key" at the office of the Acting Director General of GES, Mr. Michael Nsowah until Public Agenda's watchdog role forced the GES to reluctantly endorse the removal of the two officers in August this year.

Asked whether the Regional Director's letter surprises him, a rather calm Addo-Yobo replied in the negative, saying he always suspected it. He however indicated that he would offer the GES top hierarchy a stiff opposition because he will fight for his right.

He said, under normal circumstances, transfers are effected when one is being promoted, or upon a person's request or on punitive grounds. In this instance, the third option is obvious, though he has not done any wrong by exposing corruption, the kind of war President Kufuor;s Zero-tolerance for crusade is all about. Also, if he did any wrong he should have been queried, which was not done, hence his preparedness to resist this oppressive move.

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