The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) has denied awarding scholarships meant for brilliant but needy students to Ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as government appointees.
The GETFund in a press statement issued in Accra yesterday said, the scholarship fund was not limited to only brilliant but needy students.
The Auditor-General’s performance audit report on the administration of scholarships by the GETFund between 2012 and 2018, named some Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, lecturers, heads of institutions, media practitioners, amongst others, as having benefited.
Some of the persons named in the report, a copy of which has been submitted to Parliament in accordance with Article 187(5) of the 1992 Constitution for action, include Education Minister, Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, Sarah Adwoa Safo, Deputy Majority Leader and Procurement Minister, and Employment and Labour Relations Minister, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah.
Other notable persons on the list include Kennedy Osei Nyarko, MP, Akim Swedru and a Deputy Agriculture Minister, Prince Hamidu Armah, Executive Secretary of National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), and Head of Economics Department, University of Cape Coast, Professor John Gatsi.
The revelations have since stirred
controversy with many Ghanaians questioning the decision by the GETFund to award
the scholarship to people who are largely considered well-to-do.
But the GETFund in its statement said it did not err in awarding the above mentioned persons with scholarships.
“We wish to categorically state that the award of scholarships by GETFund under the GETFund Act 2000, Act 581, is not limited to needy but brilliant students. The Fund may, per its mandate, also provide support for such other educational activities and programmes to serve strategic national interests,” it stressed.
In relation to Dr Opoku-Prempeh, Madam Safo and Dr Armah, the statement said, “it is worthy to note that the aforementioned persons have not been awarded scholarships by the Fund under the current administration.”
In a Facebook post, however, Dr Opoku-Prempeh, who according to the Auditor-General’s report benefited from the scholarship programme in 2014, said the publication was “borne out of mischief” intended to “cause embarrassment and public ridicule” to his person.
Admitting that he received such a scholarship to participate in a three-week certificate programme at the Kennedy School of Governance at the Harvard University, Dr Opoku-Prempeh said since becoming a minister in 2017, he has not received any form of sponsorship from the GETFund.
He has thus asked the public to disregard the story calculated to cause disaffection for him.
Mr Nyarko, meanwhile, in statement said he has “never in [his] lifetime benefited from any such scholarship or attended any said University in London or any other university outside Ghana.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI