Audit Service explains why GETFund 'beneficiaries' were not contacted

Audit Service explains why GETFund ‘beneficiaries’ were not contacted

The Auditor-General’s Department has explained why it did not contact persons whose names were listed as beneficiaries of a scholarship by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).

Deputy Agric Minister, Kennedy Osei Nyarko, threatened to sue the Auditor-General this week when he was listed as a recipient of a GETFund scholarship to study at the SOAS University of London for a Certificate in Environmental Management.

Mr Nyarko said he received no such funding.

In a letter to the Auditor-General through his lawyers, the MP described the performance audit report as porous and unfitting of the high office.

Another person who is contesting the inclusion of her name, Hajia Ramana Shareef, has also gone to court demanding from the GETFund Secretariat an explanation as to how she is listed as a recipient of the scholarship when she did not obtain any such support.

But speaking on JoyNews’ news analysis programme, Newsfile on Saturday, Assistant Public Relations Officer of the Audit Service, Bernard Conduah, said there was no need to contact all the beneficiaries at the time the audit was conducted.

He explained that the only time third parties are contacted during an audit exercise is when the institution being audited fails to provide sufficient information.

“If there is a management [member] that has left office and we need to get to them then we do. Where there is an agency, let’s say a bank account of an institution we are auditing and we need to obtain evidence of supposed transfer, we do.

“But we don’t go to individuals. What we need is proof of these transactions from the relevant institution,” he explained.

He clarified further that if the Auditor-General’s Department, concludes that a particular payment is irregular or contrary to the law and someone has to refund, “that is when we narrow to the beneficiary or whoever authorised that payment or whose negligence might have resulted in the payment.”

“In this particular case, GETFund says ‘these people applied for scholarships and these are their names, approvals and the monies have been sent to all those individuals through my bank’. We then request from the bank authentication of the transfers and send it to Parliament,” he added.

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Meanwhile, three of the four panellists on the programme, were united in their call to the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, to compile a more thorough audit report on the performance of GETFund next time.

Economist, Prof Godfred Bokpin, legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu and New Patriotic Party (NPP) legislator, Alexandar Afenyo-Markin, all agree that alleged defects in the published report, especially regarding names erroneously cited as beneficiaries of the education fund, makes their call critical.