Pressure Group OccupyGhana has called on Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to summon a public hearing on the Auditor General’s report that cited the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for breaching its mandate by illegally funding foreign scholarships.
The group in a statement released on Monday, 9th March 2020, called on “Parliament to commence and conclude the sittings before Parliament rises for the Easter break.”
According to them, the hearings of the PAC, which should be conducted in a healthy and strong bipartisan manner that focuses on Ghana and nothing else, will unravel and get to the bottom of this matter ‘considering how important and urgent this issue is.’
“We, therefore, request that Parliament should at its earliest convenience convene public hearings of the PAC, at which the Auditor-General and all relevant and affected parties would appear, testify and answer questions under oath. We firmly believe that hearings of the PAC, conducted in a healthy and strong bipartisan manner that focuses on Ghana and nothing else, will unravel and get to the bottom of this matter.”
“Hopefully this would lead to long lasting reforms in the overall administration of all of the government’s scholarship schemes. We believe that considering how important and urgent this issue is, the PAC could commence and conclude the sittings required before Parliament rises for the Easter Break,” the statement noted.
Among other things, the group is calling stakeholders to desist from politicizing the issue as injecting politics into the matter could make it harder for the real culprits to be known.
“The result is that the debate has become an unfortunate cycle of partisan, rancorous and loud accusations, counter-accusations and denials. As at today, we are none-the-wiser for it so that with all the heat generated and spent, there has been precious little light shed on the real issues uncovered in the Report. The result is that Ghanaians, the administration of whose monies is in issue here, are short-changed,” the statement said.
They, therefore, call on stakeholders to avoid leaving the matter as it is thus the need, ‘for Parliament, through the Public Account Committee (PAC) to step up and stand up to be counted, and to resolve the issues arising from the very important Performance Audit’.
Push for amendment of GETFund Act
The Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Peter Nortsu Kortoe, last month called for the amendment of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) Act.
This follows the Auditor-General’s report citing the GETFund for breaching its mandate and “illegally” funding foreign scholarships.
Mr. Kortoe in a Citi News interview said the time was ripe for an amendment of the GETFund Act.
“As a committee, we are going to ask for the amendment of the GETFund Act. This is what as a committee we have done several times for the three or four years whenever the formula was presented to the committee for approval or recommendations we said the GETFund Act needed amendment. The Fund was engaging in activities that hitherto were not part of the Act. So we either regularise their activities by amending the law or get them to do exactly what they need to do,” he said.