The Ghana National School Feeding Caterers Association (GNSFCA) has alleged that the Secretariat of the Ghana National School Feeding has paid an estimated amount of over GHS12,998,767.52 to ‘ghost schools’.
It said the schools which were over 511 across the country, had not been part of the Programme.
Mrs Caroline Aboagye, Public Relations Officer of the GNSFA, during a press conference in Accra on Thursday said some schools had been smuggled onto the payment system of the Programme including 139 schools in the Volta, 59 in Ahafo, 43 in Eastern, 41 in the Ashanti region, 33 in Greater Accra, 30 in Central, 12 in Northern, 11 in Western, 10 in Western North, and 9 in Bono Regions of the country.
She said the current leadership of the Secretariat had proved to be incompetent due to the leakages and mismanagement of funds.
“Caterers were not ready to work with the National Coordinator and its subordinates. They must go for the betterment of caterers and the school children. It is very sad to say that, caterers received threats from their zonal and regional coordinators when they voice out their grievances,’’ she said.
The PRO appealed to the President to investigate the fraudulent activities ongoing at the Secretariat of the Programme.
She said though the administration of the GSFP had improved considerably, it had been confronted with several challenges such as the delay in payment of grants and their indebtedness to the caterers had contributed to the inefficiency of many of them.
The Association commended the President and Ministers of the Finance, and the MoGCSP for their enormous support to the programme.
Mr Siba Alfa, Head of Public Relations, Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra refuted the claims of the caterers.
He said the schools they had paid were all legitimate and were in the system of the Programme.
Mr Alfa said they were worried about the way the caterers had organised a press conference without engaging them concerning their issues, since they worked together.
He said they should have approached the Secretariat with evidences of their claims for them to be investigated, while appealing to them to dialogue with them for the issues to be settled amicably.
Mr Siba noted that some caterers who had not been on their system and had no contract with them had been claiming that they had worked but not been paid.
He called on such caterers to visit their offices although it had been illegal on their part to take up schools and cook for them without authorisation from the Secretariat, in order for their claims with evidences that they had rendered services to be investigated and sorted out.
He appealed to the caterers who had contracts with them and had not been paid due to ‘small issues’ including mismatch of names to e-zwich numbers, to be patient because they would be definitely be paid.