PAC moves to halt abuse of scholarship granted lecturers for study abroad

 Lecturers who are granted scholarship to pursue higher academic qualifications abroad or other tertiary institutions in the country will have to acquire “bank guarantees” before such opportunities are granted. 

This is to curtail the growing phenomenon where beneficiary lecturers do not return or abuse such opportunities for their private gains. 

PAC members at a sittings

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) gave this recommendation during its sitting in Sunyani, yesterday. 

The Chairman of the Committee, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, who announced the decision expressed frustrations about the phenomenon, saying the situation was wide spread in various tertiary institutions of the country.

Dr Avedzi was speaking when Sunyani Technical University in the Bono Region appeared before the Committee to answer queries concerning some procurement breaches captured in the 2019 Auditor General’s report. 

It came up that three lecturers who were sponsored by the school to pursue their doctorial programmes in Cyprus, USA and Ghana vacated their post after their training. 

While Mr Kusi Ankra and Tony Boateng had refunded the money spent on them, that of Foster Adade, who was sponsored to Cyprus, abandoned the programme midstream and moved to the USA for greener pastures. 

The Vice Chancellor of the Sunyani Technical University, Professor Adinkra Appiah, told the Committee that all efforts to get Mr Adade to pay back the money had yielded no results, saying, “we wrote to his bankers and they told us he was owing the bank and that the money in his account had been used to defray his debt”.

Dr Adomako Kusi, Member of Parliament for Anyaa Sowutuom in his submission, cautioned that impediments should not be put in a way of genuine lecturers who needed to be supported for higher qualifications because of a few bad nuts abusing the opportunity offered them. 

According to him, beneficiaries who return home after their study were huge resource to their institutions and the country as a whole. 

Touching on the status of cases that had been referred to the Attorney General’s Department for prosecution, Dr Avedzi noted that the committee would from next year invite the sector Minister to brief them on how far it had gone with the cases brought before it. 

The Financial Management Act, he noted, mandated the AG to write to Parliament on action taken on cases referred to the department.  

That, he said, was to ensure proper accountability and prosecution of persons who breached the law. 

Some infractions that came up on day one of PAC’s sittings were overpaid salaries, uncounted expenditures.

FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, SUNYANI

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