A Deputy Health Minister and Member of Parliament for Gomoa West, Alexander Abban, has bemoaned what he described as selfishness from politicians that deprived needy students of Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) scholarships.
He said it was unacceptable for such influential people like legislators to enjoy from pro-poor schemes.
The Deputy Health Minister, speaking on Citi FM/Citi TV’s The Big Issue, called on the secretariat to conduct proper needs assessment before scholarships are granted.
“Certain personalities should not have even become beneficiaries. Poor people bring applications and they don’t get it. So for me to see certain personalities who ordinarily should able to pay for their own academic pursuit [was wrong].”
“We were being selfish regardless of whether the people who were in it are NPP or NDC. Somebody needs a few thousands of Ghana cedis to be able to even get a first degree, they don’t get it. And then, some others will go and get these huge sums of money to enhance themselves for things that we may not even need immediately sometimes even for their own self-actualisation. When somebody needs it to be able to shoot up from some poor family,” he said.
The Auditor-General report listed the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh and the Procurement Minister, Sarah Adwoa Safo as being beneficiaries of the fund when they were MPs.
But in its first reaction to the report, the GETFund said its mandate was not limited to serving needy but brilliant students, in line with the GETFund Act 2000.
Auditor General’s performance audit of GETFund
The performance audit report said the GETFund Secretariat overstepped its mandate and administered the scholarship itself.
The report also said, “GETFund did not establish any systems, policies, and procedures to ensure the economic, efficient and effective use of public funds.”
The Auditor-General concluded that the failings of the GETFund led to brilliant but needy students being deprived of scholarship in favour of politicians in some cases.
According to the GETFund’s Annual Reports from 2012 to 2018, the secretariat spent GHS425,698,937 on scholarships on 3,112 beneficiaries out of which 2,217 persons were unlawfully granted scholarships to study abroad.