Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh
The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh yesterday mobilized all his regional directors of education, district directors of education and accountants under whose jurisdictions various infractions were recorded in the Auditor-General’s report of 2015 under consideration of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament to answer those queries for themselves.
The Ministry of Education recorded a lot of infractions ranging from misapplication of funds, misappropriation of funds, unsubstantiated payments, fictitious payments, unearned salaries and many others.
The worst culprit in terms of infractions as far as the various district directorates were concerned was the Assin North Municipal Directorate of Education in the Central Region, whose Municipal Director, Nana S.A.B Aidoo, struggled to answer a litany of questions posed to him.
The Assin Fosu Municipal Directorate of Education was found to have made unsupported payments covering 49 payment vouchers amounting to GH¢124,960 without evidence of official receipts such as pay in slips, memos and SRV while the office also misapplied capitation grant totaling GH¢60,470.
The Assin Fosu Office also made unsubstantiated payments amounting to GH¢86,801 and another unsubstantiated payment from examination account amounting to GH¢15,233 while a fictitious payment totaling GH¢6,960 was also made.
The chairman of PAC, James Klutse Avedzi, who was appalled by the extent of infractions recorded at the Assin North Municipal Directorate of Education, asked auditors from the Auditor-General’s Department to go back and critically analyse those serious infractions at Assin North with the assistance of the municipal director and report back for further action to be taken.
Interestingly, all those who were cited for various infractions in the report under Ministry of Education brought clearance reports from the various district offices of the Auditor-General.
But auditors from the head office of the Auditor-General, who were in parliament to support the work of committee, said they did not have any idea about them.
The Minister of Education said that he decided to bring the officials found to be culpable to answer to the queries to know that they directly superintended over the rot.
He said he would not shield any official of the ministry, who would engage in corruption or infraction during his tenure.
The Minister noted that it was very important for the committee to also do follow-ups on the clearance letters received by the various auditees from the district offices of the Auditor-General to check the truth or otherwise.
He said he was ready to collaborate with the committee to ensure that monies meant for the ministry’s work that have been misappropriated were retrieved for the state.
The accountant at the Asante-Agona District Office of the Ghana Education Service, Peter Alhassan, was also subjected to grilling by the committee for making disbursement of GH¢29,500 from the district’s capitation account without the supporting documents.
He explained that the Member of Parliament (MP) authorized him to make those payments to schools in some communities in the district.
He said even though the payment was in respect of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), the MP’s share was lodged in the capitation grant account that was why the money was cashed from that account.
He showed some documents to prove his case, as well as clearance letter from the district office of the Auditor-General’s Department, whose members were not convinced and asked for further investigations.
Some of the district offices of the Ghana Education Services cited for various infractions are North Tongu, Keta, Ketu South, Nkwanta South and Kpando in the Volta Region; Ahafo Anoth South, Offinso, Fomena the Ashanti Region; Kintampo, Sunyani Municipal, Sunyani West in the Brong Ahafo Region, as well as Tamale and Cape Coast Metros.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr