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Some concerned members of the Garu-Tempane District Assembly in the Upper East Region have called on President John Mahama to direct the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to investigate the creation of some five “ghost schools” said to be looting the national kitty under the National School Feeding Programme.
According to the assembly members, even though the five schools are in existence, they are not beneficiaries of the programme, yet two caterers have allegedly been collecting huge sums of money in the names of the schools since 2015.
“We think that there has been a collusion, fraud, injustice and criminality, among the staff of the School Feeding Programme, the DCE for Garu-Tempane and the two caterers who were used to draw monies for providing ‘never-existed’ catering services to pupils of the ‘ghost-schools.’ We want President John Dramani Mahama, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Gender, Women and Children Affairs, the BNI and Ghana School Feeding Programme to initiate an investigation into the implementation of the Programme in the Garu-Tempane District, to unravel the mystery surrounding these five schools, in whose names monies were duly paid to undeserving caterers since 2015,” a statement issued by the assembly members indicated.
The members, in a statement read by Bampil Badeabo Moses at a press conference at Garu, said the affected schools – Nisbuliga D/A Primary, Worikambo D/A Primary, Azuguri D/A Primary, Abilatega D/A Primary and Wakuan D/A Primary – were assigned to two caterers – Atigah Paulina, a government appointee to the Garu-Tempane District Assembly and one Gladys Fummira Laar, wife of an assembly member.
Apart from the concerned assembly members, the Garu Constituency chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Edward Dahamani, is said to have been equally angered by what the assembly members described as, a fraudulent collusion to loot, at the expense of hungry children and a country with many suffering citizens.
“Payments made for these schools since January 2015 to June 2015, amounted to GH¢229,341.40, which translates to over 2 billion old cedis. These were payments made to cover a total of 237 cooking days for the five schools….. We suspect that actual payments started much earlier than our intercepted documents indicate,” according to Mr Badeabo Moses.
Out of the ‘stolen’ amount, Atigah Paulina, who was purportedly assigned to three ‘ghost schools’ – Nisbuliga Primary, Worikambo Primary and Abilateega Primary – had a total amount GH¢149,121 through an E-zwich account number 1009003225.
Gladys Fummira Laar, who was also engaged to provide catering services for two ‘ghost schools’ – Azuguri Primary and Wakuan Primary – was also paid a total of GH¢76,425.40 through an E-zwich account with number 1009002868.
The assembly members believe that same practice might be going on in other districts across the country and so the president should treat it with all the seriousness it deserves.