Top Officials at Education Ministry to “be held Responsible” if Placement Fraud Report Leaks

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By:Evans Aziamor-Mensah, Adwoa Adobea-Owusu Date:February 2, 2023

Ministry of Education, Accra.

The Fourth Estate sources at the Education Ministry say members of a committee that investigated corruption in the 2022 school placement have been warned of consequences if the placement fraud report leaks to the media.

This comes in the wake of the leaked letter that formed the committee. The letter has raised questions about why the ministry has neither implemented the findings of the committee nor talked about it as part of actions it has taken to address the corruption in the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).

According to an internal letter sighted by The Fourth Estate, the committee was supposed to have completed its report in July 2022 and submitted the report to the Minister of Education.

Prior to the publication of its investigative piece that revealed that parents were paying up to 20,000 cedis to have their wards placed in category “A” senior high schools in Ghana, The Fourth Estate interviewed the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum.

He condemned such illegal payments and said anytime such issues came up, the ministry took steps to address them. He, however, failed to disclose that in 2022, the ministry actually set up a committee to investigate corruption in the placement system.

The information available to The Fourth Estate, however, indicates that no action was taken on the report because it indicted some top officials of the ministry. For this reason, our sources say the report was not acted on.

The report was supposed to be submitted to the Minister of National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, who had written to the Minister of Education on April 8, 2022, about allegations of corruption in the computerised school placement system. The Fourth Estate’s sources at the Ministry of National Security say that no such report has been received from the Ministry of Education.

Our sources at the Ministry of Education say the report is only being given attention after The Fourth Estate’s story and the subsequent leaking of the letter setting up the committee.

According to the sources, the work of the committee was compromised from the beginning because the Minister of National Security wrote to the Education Ministry on April 8, while the placement was still going on. The ministry, however, set up the committee in the third week of June, when the placement was over and students were already in school.

Even with that, the public relations officer of the Ministry of Education,  Kwasi Kwarteng, said on PM Express on JoyNews on Monday that the work of the committee delayed.

“The work was not done within the time frame because they had to rely on other state institutions with regard to certain information. But I can confirm that the report has been ready,” he said.

Background of the committee and the report

The report was put together by a six-member committee following an April 8, 2022, letter from the National Security Ministry, the same month that the placement into senior high schools began.

The letter from the National Security Ministry also came three days after the then Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, wrote to the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) and Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service to investigate allegations of corruption in the school placement system.

“In some instances, fingers have been pointed at top officials of the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service/Computerised School Selection and Placement System and the Free SHS Secretariat. Management of Ghana Education Service will be grateful if your office could launch a full-scale investigation into these allegations to establish their authenticity or otherwise,” the Director-General’s letter stated.

It was the same period the Education Ministry received a letter from the National Security Ministry about allegations of corruption in the placement of students.

Following the National Security Minister’s letter, the Ministry of Education put together a six-member committee on June 21, 2022, two months later.

A letter constituting the committee, which was signed by the acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Education, Divine Y. Ayidzoe, states the terms of the committee as follows:

(i)To investigate allegations of corruption at the CSSPS during the 2022 senior high school placement period of Basic Education Certificate Education into first year of senior high schools.

(ii)To submit its findings and recommendations to the Hon Minister of Education for onward submission to the National Security Ministry for necessary action.

(iii) To ascertain on any other matter relevant to the issues that may be related to this subject if any.

The six-member investigative committee was made up of:

1. Edward Fiawoyife – Chairperson, Internal audit, Ministry of Education

  1. Mrs Matilda Awuia Azuimah (ESQ)- Head of Legal-Ministry of Education
  2. Mr David Prah- Deputy Director-General-TVET Service
  3. Mr Baffuor Awuah- Director, Pre-Tertiary, Ministry of Education
  4. Mrs Cynthia Storph-Tagoe, Head-Legal-Ghana Education Service
  5. Mr Patrick Arthur-Principal Planning Officer-MOE-Secretary to the Committee.

Though the letter asked the committee to submit its report for onward submission to the National Security Ministry, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Education, Kwasi Kwarteng, said in a JoyNews interview that the report was submitted at the end of 2022, five clear months after the deadline for submission.

Professor Kwasi Opoku Amankwa, former Director-General of GES petitioned the Criminal Investigation Department and the National Investigation Bureau to investment rumours of placement fraud but the security agencies failed.

Prof. Opoku-Amankwa’s requested investigations

The Fourth Estate understands that, following Prof. Opoku-Amankwa’s request, the NIB initially agreed and started the investigation, but exactly one month later, it wrote to the GES saying: “You may redirect your request to the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service for the necessary action.”

The Fourth Estate sources say these investigations were stopped by “powers from above.” Prof. Opoku-Amankwa could not pursue this matter to the end. He was removed from office that same year.

Meanwhile, Prof Opoku-Amankwa, says he and the Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, should take responsibility in the case of any fraud associated with protocol placement of students into senior high schools.

“If there is fraud in the matter, then I, as the Director-General, and the minister should take responsibility. I fully accept and agree, but I knew that I was part of it and I wanted to actually make sure that there were no challenges with it,” Prof. Opoku-Amankwa told The Fourth Estate.

Adutwum final 1
Minister for Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum.

Only the Director-General of GES and the Minister of Education had full access to such protocol placement and all category “A” schools.

“If only two people have access to category A schools, you are able to tell who did the placement for a certain student so if these allegations that a parent has paid money, and this student has found himself in this school. You go into the system and the IT people are able to tell which of the two people did the placement, so it becomes much easier,” Dr Adutwum told The Fourth Estate in an interview.

He added: “And you know this is the area [category A schools] where people are scamming parents because they are the most desirable schools.

”Source: The Fourth Estate

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