The Dean of the School of Business at the University of Cape Coast, Prof. John Gatsi has rejected claims that he was unqualified to receive government support through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for an academic scholarship.
He said he applied for the scholarship when he really needed the funds to complement expenses he had already made to complete his education in 2014.
Prof. Gatsi’s name was listed among the many Members of Parliament, politicians, media practitioners, lecturers, heads of institutions and associates who received scholarships from the GETFund.
This opened him up for criticism especially on social media as some argue that he was in the position to fund his own education and didn’t have to depend on the scholarship meant for talented and needy students.
But in a Citi News interview, the lecturer said he had been paying his fees prior to 2014 but felt he needed financial support hence applying to the scholarship secretariat and was supported with only €4,000.
“I had been paying my fees from my own resources but somewhere in 2014, it got to a point that I felt I needed support so I applied to GETFund and they paid the remaining fee of €4,000 for me to complete my program and so that was the support I received from them and I am grateful for that,” he told Umaru Sanda Amadu.
Mr. Gatsi said he believes he met the requirement as a lecturer applying for the fund at the time it was administered.
He said unlike other persons mentioned in the report that received tens of thousands worth of scholarships to the UK, he truly merited it.
“I am not a minister. I am a university teacher and I know how much I earn… I know how it feels to convert your salary into Euros to pay so I think I needed help and I applied. I am not in the category of people who applied for US$53,000.”
Prof. Gatsi further indicated that the GETFund must on the basis of the report take action to ensure transparency in its selection applicants.
“It was appropriate, it was needful, and it was timely… So there was nothing about surcharges. If the Attorney General was minded that I have offended any law, they would have involved me in the process to question me.”
“If the report has come with some recommendation, this is the time for GETFund to improve upon its system, ensure that they follow what they are supposed to do, publish the list of those they are supporting, ensure transparency, and do what is right,” he said.
The Auditor-General ultimately indicted the GETFund for breaching its mandate and “illegally” funding foreign scholarships.
The performance audit report said the GETFund Secretariat “breached the object of the fund and administered the scholarship themselves.”
The report also said, “GETFund did not establish any systems, policies and procedures to ensure the economic, efficient and effective use of public funds.”
The Auditor-General concluded that the failings of the GETFund led to brilliant but needy students being deprived of scholarship in favour of politicians in some cases.
Some beneficiaries of the scholarship included Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, the Procurement Minister, Sarah Adwoa Safo and the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Prince Hamidu Armah as scholarship beneficiaries of the scheme in the past.