The Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has expressed surprise over the revelations in the Auditor General’s report on the GETfund scholarship secretariat.
“The Performance Audit Report released by the Auditor-General on the administration of scholarships by GETFund, revealed a sad reality many Ghanaian students have known about the way scholarships are awarded by these state agencies over the past years. There are enormous evidence that many brilliant but poor students are denied scholarships because they lack political connections.
“It is really unconscionable that sitting Members of Parliament and other public officials will even put themselves up to be considered for scholarship meant for needy students. This is the evidence of impunity with which the political class has carefully been orchestrating against the masses in this country,” the student group said.
It added: “To the extent that these public officials did not go through any robust competitive selection process before receiving their scholarships is enough ground to ask them to refund the said amount and we call on the attorney general and the office of the special prosecutor to investigate circumstances that resulted in this malicious abuse of office by these public officials. There is definitely something untoward about how GETFund awarded scholarships to politically exposed individuals rather than brilliant but needy students as anticipated by Act 581 to study abroad, in subjects and programmes that can be handled by the many accredited tertiary institutions in Ghana. Allowing GETFund to continue awarding scholarships without recourse to the Scholarship Secretariat amounts to duplicity of functions and must be curtailed to the barest minimum.
“We want to remind the Government of Ghana that, the students of Ghana are following keenly and will not relent until we have seen reforms in the administration of Scholarships in Ghana. Public funds must not be used to the benefit of few individuals with political connection and influence, whiles the masses wallow in abject poverty and uncertainties.
“At this point, GRASAG stands by the recommendations of the Auditor General for GETFund to abide by Section 2 (2b) of the GETFund Act and give funds to Scholarships Secretariat for the administration of local scholarships and desist from administering foreign scholarships. We also call for the prosecution and sanction of public officials both past and present who have unfairly benefited from scholarships meant for brilliant but needy students as well as officials who approved these scholarships”.