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Prof. Samuel Bonsu fingered in alleged sham scholarship arrangement

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Prof. Samuel Bonsu
Prof. Samuel Bonsu

by; Marvin Kojo Duah

Prof. Samuel Kwaku Bonsu, the Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), is facing accusations of financial malfeasance and corruption related to a botched scholarship scheme. 

He allegedly directs funds for the Institute’s scholarship program into his private account and refuses to disclose the sources and amounts received to the GIMPA community.  

Several Institute faculty and staff have alleged that he is using the botched scholarship scheme to enrich himself as the Institute struggles to stay afloat. When the GIMPA community purportedly asked him to disclose the source of the funding, the total sum received, and the procedure for administering the so-called scholarship scheme, his response was that it was none of GIMPA’s business. 

An angry faculty member lamented that there is absolutely no transparency regarding the amount obtained or the allocation of these funds. This is a clear violation of the Institute and national procurement rules. 

GIMPA is the only public university in Ghana that receives no funding from the government but relies almost exclusively on tuition fees to meet its financial obligations. The ineptitude of the current Rector, Prof. Samuel Bonsu, has exposed the Institute to unprecedented levels of risk. At the height of COVID-19, in 2020, student enrolment of the Institute was about 2,000. The numbers have been declining sharply since Prof. Bonsu took over due to his gross incompetence, corruption, intimidation, and nepotism. Several competent staff and faculty have left the Institute as a result.  For the most recent admission, total enrolment for both undergraduate and graduate programs across all campuses (GIMPA main, Tema, Takoradi and Kumasi Campuses) is less than 800 students: a reduction of over 60% over 2020 admissions. “The Institute is very likely to collapse if the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission do not intervene immediately.”, a faculty member angrily said.    

GIMPA, as part of its commitment to serving national needs, announced plans to develop and operate unique programmes to equip students with the skills to address critical challenges in the country. As part of the initiative, GIMPA was supposed to sponsor academically outstanding individuals facing financial hardships through a scholarship scheme funded by private entities and individuals. This laudable initiative has now been hijacked by the Rector, who has allegedly turned it into a money-making business and a complete one-man show. It is alleged that he singlehandedly decides on the beneficiaries of the scholarship, although the admission letters of the beneficiaries indicate the scholarship is awarded by GIMPA. Community members have expressed grave concerns about handling public (GIMPA) funds allocated to this initiative, but no one, including the allegedly compromised council chair, Mr Kofi Darko Asante, is listening. 

A source indicated that GIMPA, in alignment with its mission “to maintain a Centre of Excellence for training in public and business administration,” has decided to develop and implement specialised academic programs exclusive to GIMPA. These programs are intended to address pressing national issues. “GIMPA has secured funding for these specialised programmes, but Prof. Bonsu has refused to disclose the quantum of the money secured or show where money is lodged,” the source said. There are allegations of the Rector’s attempt to transfer donations of over GHS100,000 towards the scholarship scheme from GIMPA’s account to his private account. His contention is that since the program is funded by private entities, he is not obligated to disclose details to the GIMPA community. 

In a surprising turn, the Institute’s Secretary (Registrar), who is the Chief Operations Officer of GIMPA, Dr Victoria Mwinsumah Puoyeng Kunbuor, has entangled herself in damning conflict-of-interest situations. Her daughter, Benedicta Mwinkuma Saayirfang Kunbour, a law student admitted on protocol owing to her weak grades, benefits from the scholarship scheme for brilliant and needy students. Her daughter reportedly received a complimentary room valued at GHC250 per day and free meals funded by the Institute’s scholarship program, privately managed by Prof. Bonsu. In addition, as GIMPA struggles to pay for part-time lecturers, whose salaries are sometimes in arrears for over a year, the Secretary and Rector have acquired expensive vehicles worth over GHS400,000.00 and GHS1,000,000.00, respectively, as part of their conditions of service. These vehicles are meant to be used for work. However, they are being kept in their private garages and will only be ‘out-doored’ when Prof. Bonsu and Dr Kunbour’s terms of office end. What an unethical practice!!    

“Aunty Vic [Dr. Victoria Kunbuor] is compromised, and she does not think about the welfare of the staff. We can’t complain to her because she has abused her office as Secretary of the Institute. She is in bed with the Rector, and every department is rotten.” A staff complained. The staff further lamented that “this is what happens when someone who was beaten by a wide margin in an interview for such a position is granted a favour to occupy the position: a clear-cut case of being compromised.”   

‘Her daughter [Benedicta Mwinkuma Saayirfang Kunbour], who was not qualified for the law school, was sneaked in without the Law School Dean’s approval. How can such an individual who is neither brilliant nor poor be on a scholarship,” sources stated.

Several faculty and staff lament that the lack of financial transparency undermines accountability and raises doubts about the integrity of GIMPA’s leadership. As a result, pressure is mounting on the Rector, Prof. Samuel Bonsu, who also serves as a Board Member of Emerging Public Leaders-Ghana; and GIMPA’s Council Chairman, Piesie Kofi Darko Asante, to provide clarity on GIMPA’s financial operations.

Notably, several critical positions of the Institute were vacant after the Rector frustrated those occupying such positions and forced them to leave the Institute. GIMPA, for over a year, has not had a Director of Finance, a Director of Human Resource Management, or a Director of Corporate Affairs and Institutional Advancement. As remarked by a staff “The Director of Finance position is vacant after Prof. Bonsu frustrated Mr. James Abrah; Mr. Rami Baitie, who was Director of Corporate Affairs, was harassed till he left; the Director of Human Resources is vacant; and there are no plans to recruit officers after months, GIMPA has been run down completely by Samuel Bonsu and the Council Chair.”

With all the troubles Prof. Bonsu and his collaborator, Mr. Kofi Darko Asante, are allegedly causing at GIMPA, one wonders when the State will take some interest and verify these damning allegations. Only time will tell. 

The Council Chairman, Piesie Kofi Darko Asante, who is over 80, is entwined in a network of dishonesty and nepotism. He shields the Rector when the latter engages in gross misconduct. It may be recalled that Mr. Kofi Darko Asante was implicated in financial misconduct and nepotism as the Executive Secretary at the Energy Commission under the administration of former President John Agyekum Kufour. This resulted in his dismissal following a report by the then Auditor General, Prof. Edward Dua Agyemang, which accused him of corruption.

https://www.modernghana.com/news/78200/kufuor-acted-on-energy-commission-audit-report.html#google_vignette

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Audit-exposes-Energy-Commission-boss-99244 

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