Chairman of the Education committee of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Akim Oda, William Agyapong Quaittoo has debunked the assertion that Parliamentarians are prominent members of society who cannot be classified as ‘needy’.
According to him, Members of Parliament are ordinary people who also deserve to benefit from the scholarship scheme of the Ghana Education Trust Fund.
A performance audit report by the Auditor-General on the administration of scholarships by GETFund saw some notable politicians including the Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Deputy Majority Leader, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, and a member of the Manifesto team of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Professor John Gatsi labelled as recipients of the fund which originally was understood to be for brilliant but needy students.
This has caused a huge public uproar about how politicians who are not necessarily needy, yet are benefiting from the scheme at the detriment of persons who may actually be in need of the said scholarships.
The Fund administrator has in a press release however explained that “the award of scholarships by GETFund under the GETFund Act 2000, Act 581, is not limited to needy but brilliant students”.
A spirited defence has also been mounted by the persons who benefited from the scholarships in separate statements seeking to demystify the impression on who qualifies for the scholarship.
In the case of the Deputy Majority leader and Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya Constituency, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, the scholarship awarded her was to help her serve Ghana better, while Matthew Opoku Prempeh says attempts to suggest that he took the scholarship while serving as Minister of State are erroneous.
But commenting on the development, the Chairman of the Education Committee of Parliament and MP for Akim Oda said there was nothing wrong with legislators benefiting from the scheme.
Speaking on Starr FM on Tuesday, William Agyapong Quaittoo said being in Parliament is not as ‘prestigious’ and ‘rosy’ as the public perceives.
“Is a member of Parliament a prominent person? Is that what you are saying? who defines who a prominent person is? I have been in parliament for 7 years, this is my second term, to tell you the truth, I’ve suffered more than when I was not in Parliament,” he said.
He described the public uproar on the report as much ado about nothing, citing the Auditor-General, Yaw Dormelovo as being politically mischievous.
“I don’t think that the managers of GETFund will just sit there and give it to their cronies, and their family members. Remember, at the point when these persons got their GETFund, it was managed by then opposition party, the NDC and the GETFund administrator was a full NDC member
This is much ado about nothing. To me, the auditor general shouldn’t have even brought it out at all, it shouldn’t be a case. For me, I don’t think the attainment of scholarship from GETFund or scholarship secretariat had to do with anything related to corruption. The auditor general cannot have it right at all times. I think he is wrong in this instance.
“The Auditor-General’s action is purely political mischief, they had these scholarships to read these courses when they were not Ministers, they were ordinary Members of Parliament,” he said.