Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko has threatened to sue the Auditor-General, if he fails to retract his name from the list of beneficiaries of the GETFund scholarship.
A performance audit report from the Auditor- General listed Mr. Nyarko as a scholarship beneficiary of the scheme.
Mr. Nyarko on the Point Blank segment of Eyewitness News, however, denied this claim, insisting he never benefitted from a GETFund scholarship to study abroad.
He asked the Auditor General to retract what he had published or risk a lawsuit.
“I want to state categorically that I have not benefitted from any GETFund scholarship to study abroad. And I do not intend applying for any scholarship from the GETFund administrator to pursue my education. I am capable of financing my own education to whatever level I want to go -whether being locally or abroad so I do not see why the Auditor General will just put my name in the list of people who have benefitted from some form of a scholarship to study abroad.
“My focus is why does the Auditor put my name on the list when I have not benefitted? What is his motivation? What is he trying to achieve? We need to ask the Auditor General what his motivation is. As a responsible citizen, I am going to give the Auditor General an option. Either to retract what he has published and if he fails to do that then my lawyers will proceed to court.”
MPs also entitled to GETFund scholarships
Mr. Nyarko also defended the decision to grant some Members of Parliament a scholarship under GETFund, saying they were entitled to such benefits given that they pay taxes just like other citizens do.
“Assuming that he has been given a scholarship to some Members of Parliament. Don’t they pay taxes to the state? They are equally qualified.”
Auditor General’s report
The Auditor-General indicted the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for breaching its mandate and “illegally” funding foreign scholarships.
A performance audit report from the Auditor-General sighted by Citi News 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, for example, are 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.