A Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, has questioned the credibility of the audit report by the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo on the Ghana Education Trust Fund’s (GETFund) scholarship scheme which listed names of some Members of Parliament, politicians among others as beneficiaries.
The Deputy Minister's name was listed as one of those who benefited from the scholarship.
But he has denied ever receiving such an award and queried the Auditor-General over the matter.
“I want to state categorically that I have not benefited from any GETFund scholarship to study abroad, and I do not intend to apply for any scholarship from the GETFund administrators to pursue my education. I am capable of financing my education to whatever level I want to go whether doing it locally or abroad,” Mr. Osei Nyarko told Citi News.
“I have not attended such university to pursue any program. I was surprised to see my name on the list. What was the motivation for putting my name there? I have instructed my lawyers to write to the Auditor-General to seek for immediate retraction for whatever list he has put out,” he added.
The Deputy Agric Minister further threatened to sue the Auditor-General if he fails to remove his name from the list of beneficiaries of the GETFund scholarship.
Mr. Domelevo then directed the Deputy Agric Minister to the Ghana Education Trust Fund for answers on his inclusion on the list of scholarship beneficiaries.
The Auditor-General in response to Mr. Osei Nyarko’s request said that his office did not “cause to be published any 'supposed list of top political figures' who are claimed to have benefitted from a scholarship at the Ghana Education Trust Fund as alleged by you.”
In a letter, Mr. Domelevo said that he has no intention of being biased to anyone and clarified that the “information contained in an audit report is from the audited entity, and in this instance, every information or names that are contained in the performance audit report on GETFund came from GETFund, the audited entity”.
However, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, feeling justified by this response wondered whether the Auditor-General is trustworthy.
“It is clear from the foregoing that my position has been vindicated. The Auditor-General did not audit the information supplied his office by GETFund. Can this person be trusted as an Auditor-General? Can this one too be called Proper Audit?” he questioned in a release.
The Auditor-General indicted the GETFund for breaching its mandate and “illegally” funding foreign scholarships.
A performance audit report from the Auditor-General said the GETFund Secretariat “breached the object of the fund and administered the scholarship themselves.”
According to the GETFund's Annual Reports from 2012 to 2018, the secretariat spent GHS 425,698,937 on scholarships on 3,112 beneficiaries out of which 2,217 persons were unlawfully granted scholarships to study abroad.
It also said GETFund's selection process was not robust enough, describing it as “unfair, dominated by one person and porous.”
“This allowed unqualified applicants to benefit rather than brilliant but needy Ghanaians as contemplated by Act 581,” the report stated.
Some politicians were also listed as beneficiaries of GETFund scholarships.
The report noted that the current Education Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh and the current Procurement Minister and Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo benefitted from the scheme in the past.
This was however before they became government appointees.
The Procurement Minister is listed as having studied at the Harvard Kennedy School, benefiting from US$12,800 in allowances with US$17,004 in tuition fees.
Education Minister, Dr. Opoku Prempeh is noted to have participated in a course on National and International Security at Harvard University, where he received US$12,800 for living expenses and US$11,200 as tuition fees.
The Minister, in a statement, noted that he was the recipient of a GETFund award in 2014.