The group in a statement released on Monday, March 9 wants “Parliament to commence and conclude the sittings before Parliament rises for the Easter break”.
The group in their statement further argued that the hearing by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament which consists of members of the political divide, will do a thorough job aimed at bringing closure to the 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,” online portal CNR quoted OccupyGhana in parts of their statement.
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’
Ghanaians expressed disappointment following a report by the A-G indicting the GETfund for breaching its mandate by “illegally” funding foreign scholarships.
A performance audit report said the GETfund Secretariat “breached the object of the fund and awarded the scholarships themselves”.
The report also named several individuals both in government and in opposition as beneficiaries of the scheme in the time past.
Notable amongst them are Ghana’s current Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Procurement Minister and a deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Sara Adwoa Safo.
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.
Reaction from GETfund
Reacting to the report, GETFund has said its mandate is not limited to solely serving needy but brilliant students in line with the GETFund Act 2000.
“The fund may, per its mandate, also provide support for other educational activities and programmes to serve strategic national interests.”
GETFund also noted that the scholarships were not awarded by the Fund’s current administration.
‘Brouhaha on scholarships given by GETfund needless’ — Deputy AG’
A deputy Attorney General, Joseph Dindiok Kpenka (MP), has however described as needless, the various public discourse on the GETfund audit report.
According to the MP, the matter could have been handled well by parties involved and that the report should have gone to Parliament for investigations to commence.
“First of all this report needs to get to Parliament. The committee will then invite these persons to come and give an explanation, and remember that in the recent past, people were even arrested at the committee’s sittings and all that.
“What is the reason for throwing this into the public domain when it hadn’t gotten to the final stage where people will go and answer and etc. What is the purpose?What was the reason?”, he quizzed.
By Jonathan Ofori, Daily Mail GH