Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Education Minister
The matron of Ghana Senior High School (GHANASS) in Koforidua, Eastern Region, who allegedly stole quantities of assorted food items belonging to the school, has been arrested by the police.
The Eastern Regional Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service was said to have arrested Comfort Oduro Bruce last Friday from her hideout and was later granted (police) inquiry bail.
Headmaster of the school, Reverend Abraham Donkor, has also reportedly been invited for questioning as part of the extended investigation into the matter.
Prior to the arrest, the matron had reportedly confessed before a panel that was set up by the school’s authorities to investigate the circumstances leading to the carting away of a truck-load of food items meant to feed the students, that she indeed stole those items.
According to sources, the nefarious activities of Ms Comfort Oduro Bruce had been causing food shortages in the school, making the students complain of insufficient meals; and some have cynically concluded that she is part of the group sabotaging the government’s Free SHS programme, but others think she is in the unlawful business solely for personal financial gains.
Over the weekend Rev. Donkor confirmed to DAILY GUIDE that the matron accepted in his presence that she was guilty and pleaded for forgiveness.
“She confessed to me that she has been taking the foodstuffs to her house. She has been stealing the unused foodstuffs. Clearly, she has been doing it for a while and we were not aware until the day she was caught. I don’t take bribes as she alleged; all that she said of me were fabricated lies, just to tarnish my image,” Rev Donkor said.
The matron, who had hired a kitchen staff called Emmanuel Appiah, was caught pants down by the chief security man of the school, Kofi Kanjanga, when she and the driver (one Alfred) attempted to transport the food items with the Regional Ghana Education Service vehicle, registered GN 6717-15, on 16th November, 2017.
According to the security man, the matron tried to bully him in order to have her way, but he stood his ground and insisted that the headmaster needed to give the approval before he would let them leave the campus with the foodstuffs, which included bags of rice, quantities of milk, canned tomatoes, canned fish and other items.
In the ensuing confusion, Ms Comfort Oduro and the driver tried to use another exit point but was still prevented by Mr. Kanjanga.
The five-member committee that investigated the matron’s conduct included Vivian A. Mireku, assistant headmistress administration; Fredrick Owusu, assistant headmaster, academics; Bliss Bedjabeng, Teaching staff Welfare Chairperson; Afful-Mensah, Bursar; Alex Adjei Frimpong and Joyce Afriyie Agyepong – all staff of the school.
At the committee’s sitting, seven persons – Mr. Kanjanga; Simeon Azor, night watchman; Eric Frimpong; Lawrence Kyei; Appiah Emmanuel; Amponsah Enoch; Selina Kwofie and Ms Bliss Bedjabeng – all testified and most of them confirmed that the matron had been stealing the food items and sending them out after school hours.
An audio recording of the matron has been played on radio (Oman FM) through the instrumentality of Kwame Baffoe aka Abronye, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Youth Organizer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), who has vowed to expose all those trying to disturb the smooth implementation of the Free SHS programme.
On the tape the matron was heard saying, “Appiah” (the school’s staff), “you know the truth is out; please save my image; don’t tell them I am begging you. Everybody eats from his job, even the headmaster has been taking 20 million old cedis as bribe from parents before admitting their wards, which we all know; that’s what he is using to put up the storey building.”
The interim report of the school’s committee has been submitted to the Regional Education Directorate for further action.
FROM Daniel Bampoe, Koforidua