A new twist in the raging scholarship fraud engulfing the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) shows that some of the alleged beneficiaries may have been faked by the fund, as some people on the list claim not to have received “a dime” to fund their education.
A former journalist with Accra-based Metro TV, Hajia Ramana Shareef whose name was captured on the list of beneficiaries of the illegal GETFund scholarships says none of the funds attributed to her ever reached her.
“So this country called Ghana, why at all are we so wicked to ourselves. You put my name on a list of scholarship beneficiaries which you never paid! So who took the money? I am so angry right now…,” she wrote on her Facebook wall on Sunday.
She was supposedly given more than US$ 25,000 in tuition and living allowances to complete her Masters in Communications at the Reading University in the United Kingdom.
She is one of more than 86 Ministers, Parliamentarians, government appointees and media personnel exposed to have been illegally given more than GHC 10 million in scholarships to study abroad between 2012 and 2018.
Some ministers in the Akufo-Addo government and other government appointees have all been sighted in the illegal GETfund list, including the Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, Procurement Minister and Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo as well as the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), Prince Hamidu Armah.
Among the list of beneficiaries is one Nana Obrepongmaa Ofori-Atta, reportedly related to the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta. She was handed a whopping US$60,000 to go study for her first degree at the Georgetown University in the United States.
They were virtually gifted millions of dollars worth of scholarship that should have gone to poor but brilliant Ghanaian students.
These beneficiaries had been allowed by the GETFund to ambush funds meant for brilliant but poor Ghanaian students, to whom the GETFund Act allow accessing the scholarship to further their studies in Ghana-not overseas.
The Auditor-General made this expose in his latest audit report on the administration of scholarships by the GETFund.
According to the executive summary of the report, “GETFund Secretariat breached the object of the Fund and administered the scholarship themselves, and illegally funded foreign scholarships thus, acting outside their mandate.”
Section 2 (2) (b) of the GETFund Act, 2000 (Act 581) explicitly defined how scholarships should be administered, “…to provide supplementary funding to the Scholarship Secretariat for the grant of scholarships of gifted but needy students for studies in the second-cycle and accredited tertiary institutions in Ghana,” the legislation states.
Already, thousands of eligible scholarship applicants who were turned away by the GETFund in the stead of the super-privileged beneficiaries have taken to social media raining insults and curses on those who were illegally handed the controversial scholarships.