SEND GHANA has taken notice of media reports that suggest several financial irregularities in the running of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) as contained in the 2018 Auditor-General’s Report.
The report uncovered among others, bloated enrolment figures, duplication of schools and payments of grants to existent caterers in the 2017-2018 academic year, as well as unsubstantiated and unsupported transactions, accounting for huge losses of public funds running into millions of Ghana cedis.
It is recalled that, in December 2018, investigation by the National Security established financial malpractices in the management of the School Feeding Programme, which has led to the suspension of the National Coordinator in charge of the programme, pending further investigations.
The National Coordinator and his outfit is alleged to have perpetrated “fraudulent deals”, including inflating enrolment figures of some schools under the GSFP, compared to the figures of the Ghana Education Service (GES) for the 2017/2018 academic year, and paying monies to caterers who have not been assigned to any school by the School Feeding Secretariat.
It is worth stating that, shortly after news broke on the suspension of the National Coordinator, SEND granted media interviews, specifically to joy FM on its evenings’ flagship programme “Top Stories” and Joy news on Joy TV and Joy Prime TV, as well as UTV, in which we categorically called on government to punish the culprits, and enhance its monitoring mechanisms if it needed to win the war against widespread irregularities in the implementation of the school feeding policy.
Unfortunately, eight months into his suspension, nothing significant has happened beyond the setting up of independent committee to carry out further investigations, Consequently, SEND GHANA expresses its disappointment for the government’s slow response to the investigations and to our earlier report on the School feeding programme published in 2017.
The findings of our 2017 report titled “WHO IS MONITORING? A POTENTIAL FINANCIAL LEAKAGE IN THE GHANA SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAMME” are not different from the December 2018 National Security investigation and the Auditor General’s report released recently.
The SEND GHANA report highlighted inconsistencies in enrolment data, poor record keeping by schools, education directorates and caterers, weak supervision and monitoring by GSFP, delayed reimbursement of funds to caterers which affected the frequency of feeding and strict adherence to district menu among others. It concluded that, such state of affairs, flies in the face of good financial management practices and predisposes the school feeding programme to financial leakages.
SEND GHANA is of the considered and respectful view that, if government had taken swift action to institute appropriate measures, including implementing policy recommendations suggested by SEND in the report, it would have helped to avert the continuous financial malfeasance and wanton dissipation of funds, perpetrated by selfseeking few, at the expense of the many poor and vulnerable children.
SEND GHANA believes in the potential of the School Feeding Programme to accelerate Ghana t s quest towards the attainment of universal basic education for all children, and hereby, calls on government to crack the whip in bringing all culprits into book, in the supreme interest of the country.
Emmanuel Ayifah, PhD
(Deputy Country Director, SEND GHANA)
For further information and clarifications, please contact the following addresses:
Office Telephone lines
Emmanuel Ayifah, PhD (Deputy Country Director, SEND Ghana)
Harriet Nuamah-Agyemang (Senior Programme Officer, SEND Ghana)