Scholarship Secretariat In Trouble
…As Harvard Board Member Threatens To Report Corrupt Officials
Some suspected dubious happenings at the Scholarship Secretariat have forced a member of the Harvard University Overseers Board to serve notice he will not rest until he reports the secretariat to the university to “audit” the Ghanaian institution, just as it does for financial aid applications.
According to Dr. Sangu Delle, a Ghanaian based in the United States (US), he will feature the issue at the board’s next meeting, indicating that no conference at the American Ivy League institution costs US$30,000.
“I’m on the Board of Overseers at Harvard University and I can tell you for a FACT that there’s no conference at Harvard that costs $30, 000 for attendees. “Hon” Adwoa Safo & the others need to be in jail for such reckless abused of public funds.
“Politically exposed people using state funds and taxpayer money to fund their education is disgusting. I’m going to raise this issue at the next board meeting at @Harvard. We should ‘audit’ them the same way we do for financial aid applications,” he said in a series of tweets.
The threat follows concerns that the secretariat is involved in alleged scholarship profiteering and issuing of same to non-needy students, including about $30, 000 alleged scholarship, to former Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Sarah Adwoa Safo in 2020.
Before this, some affected individuals had shared their experience on both traditional media and social media platforms, indicating that while these scholarships are designed to be awarded to needy students, it mostly ends up given to affluent, well to do and politically exposed persons and their families.
According to reports, poor Ghanaians with no connection to people in high authorities and the secretariat are charged outrageous amounts for the scholarship, leaving many who are unable to pay being denied.
This further angered the youth in the heat of a recent three-day demonstration last weekend, with many on social media app ‘X,’ previously known as Twitter, taking the opportunity to voice out some of these developmentsat the secretariat, and using them as justification for the protest.
Apparently, the lawyer and lecturer was one of some Diasporans, who joined the #Occupyjubileehouse protest via online, and also offered medical and legal support to protesters who were arrested and the injured.
In a series of tweets in the midst of the #Occupyjubileehouse demonstration, Dr. Delle said it was absolutely wrong for politically exposed persons to be funded by the poor taxpayer.
The demonstrators saw the scholarship awarded to the MP as very offensive, considering her privileged position as unconscionable.
Dr. Delle, who is very active on the app, tweeted that he will take the matter up for investigation, saying the alleged act defeats the purpose for which the Scholarship Secretariat was formed.
“Thanks for sharing, but I am very annoyed they called her “poor Ghanaian,” she’s a magnificent and brilliant Queen not a “poor Ghanaian,” he said, when additional information was drawn to his attention.
The report of the scholarship awarded to the MP was contained in an Auditor-General document which priced the total sum of bursary allocated to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dome Kwabenya constituency as US$30, 000 in lieu of the conference at Harvard.
The issue, which sparked outrage at the time in 2020, also had other politicians, including the then Education Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, as well as Employment and Labour Relations Minister Ignatius Baffour-Awuah also receiving funds for a programme.
Meanwhile, a vice president of policy think tank, IMANI-Africa, Serlorm Branttie, has joined the fray.
He has called on the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP),headed by Kissi Agyebeng, to take interest in the matter for investigation.
In a five-point post, shared on his social media handles, Mr.Brantie asked to know who may have vetted, approved and the justification for the huge amount.
“We need to know if the said funds were disbursed into Harvard University’s coffers. Since it was a conference, we need to know “Hon.” Adjoa Sarfo, MP’s contributions to the conference and its context and said participants. Did she write a detailed report about her learnings at the conference and to which sector of Ghana it has added value to?” he queried.
Mr. Brantie also requested an investigative journalist, who is now pursuing a course at the prestigious university, to take interest in the matter and bring concrete answers to Ghanaians.
“Manasseh Azure Awuni, since you are at Harvard now, can you help us investigate this? The Department of Homeland Security in the US is apparently investigating cases of fake scholarships of F-1 visa holders from Ghana as well as those who get stranded without receiving stipends. I hope we have information on that soon,” he said.
He provided further information on how the former minister and MP was able to purchase a vehicle for one of his children by MP and New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirant Ken Agyapong in 2022, which costs about twice the money she was reported to have used for the course at Harvard.
“PS: Adjoa Sarfo, as a Minister (former?) of State and sitting MP during the period of her scholarship bought a 2022 Corvette which price ranges between $65,000 – $78,000 depending on the variant, for her son on his birthday.
“That is twice the price of the scholarship roughly. Why should she be picked over a needy student? Note that her family including the father of her children have holdings worth among the top 0.05% of richest people in Ghana.
Happy Sunday,” he stated.
More To Come…