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27.10.2007 General News

PAC asks student to refund $8000 to Ministry


The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Friday asked the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative to request an official, Mr. Kojo Ofori-Safo to refund monies the Ministry had spent to sponsor his Masters Programme at the University of Ghana Business School.

The Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr Seth Evans Addo, told the Committee's hearing in Accra that the Ministry was implementing a recommended bond by the Auditor General to the student, but Mr Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Chairman of the Committee directed that the sponsorship package should be refunded.

According to the Auditor Generals Report for 2005, Mr Ofori-Safo was appointed Co-ordinator of the Ghana Investors Advisory Council under the Ministry of Private Sector Development from April 1, 2005 on a monthly salary of US$1,500.

Barely three months after his appointment, Mr Ofori-Safo gained admission to the University of Ghana Business School to undertake an Executive Masters Degree programme in Business Administration.

He was expected to pay a tuition fee of US$2000 or 18,400 Ghana cedis (18.4 million cedis), for the two-year period.

The Ministry was sponsoring Mr. Ofori-Safo's two-year course as part of the Ministry's capacity-building programme, but he was however not bonded to commit him to serve the Ministry upon the completion of the programme.

It came out at the hearing that the Ministry was yet to implement the bond; against the recommendation of the Auditor Generals Report, so that Mr Ofori-Safo would not desert the Ministry upon the completion of the course.

Ministry officials explained that Mr. Ofori-Safo used to be an employee of the Ministry of Private Sector Development, which was amalgamated with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

However, Mr Doe Adjaho, Member of the Committee, NDC-MP, for Avenor Ave, stated that an outfit takes on the assets as well as the liabilities of an old one when it takes it over.

Top officials of the organizations under the Ministries took turns to answer question on the financial queries on the Ghana Trade Fair Authority, the President's Special Initiatives and Small and Medium Enterprises.