07.05.2008 Feature Article

What next, after firing Amoako Tuffuor?

What next, after firing Amoako Tuffuor?
07.05.2008 LISTEN

President John Kufuor has for the first time in several years gone beyond rhetoric and given real meaning to his promise of rooting out corruption with the outright dismissal of the Executive Chairman of the Ghana Schools Feeding Programme, Dr. Kwame Amoako Tuffuor.

The decision follows reports including an official audit report confirming cases of malfeasance, maladministration and corruption associated with the management of the school feeding programme.

Dr. Amoako Tuffuor who heads the Programme has been in firing range since the Pressure Group, the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) raised the alarm, courtesy an audit report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers. They remained persistent in their call for the dismissal of the Programme Head for supervising the award of contracts to companies that do not exist, employment of unqualified personnel, the purchase of expired food products and issuance of VAT invoice bearing the same numbers by two different companies among others.
And the President listened, finally the presidency has responded swiftly to allegations... allegations that did not emanate only from the CJA but from within government as well. Information Minister Oboshie Sai Cofie in one of her last statements in charge of the government's information machinery explained that the decision is the result of work done by a committee chaired by the Chief of Staff.

The Chief of Staff's committee together with the work of PricewaterhouseCoopers has saved the country millions of Ghana Cedis because the rot will have persisted and calls from individuals and others for a second look would remain ignored.

The question however is what next? Will the dismissal of the Programme Head necessarily solve the teething problems identified and what happens to the persons who were responsible for the malfeasance and maladministration? Are they going to go scot free together with the Programme Head?

If the allegations so far made and which are from the findings captured in the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit report are to be the reference point, then it will appear that sacking the man in charge does not answer the questions. What happens to the issue of issuing fake VAT invoices, ghost schools names in the schools list of the Programme, funds going to non-existence companies to supply food to non-existent schools?

The President has through the relevant sector ministry done his part, Ghanaians are waiting to see what the supervising ministry will be doing to sanitise the Programme Secretariat and also ensure that funds lost are recovered.

Thank you again President Kufuor for setting up a Castle team to look into the issues, because the pronouncement of some government appointees like the Auditor General suggested that PricewaterhouseCoopers and the CJA were just out to tarnish the name of the ruling party and government. So what was the Auditor General going on and on about, and those who said the CJA was doing politics?

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