On Friday, February 17, 2023, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, appeared on Peace FM’s breakfast show, Kokrokoo, to discuss topical issues in Ghana’s educational system.
The Fourth Estate’s latest investigations into the alleged corruption in the Computerised School Placement System (CSSPS) dominated the conversation.
The host of the programme, Kwami Sefa-Kayi, recalled allegations in The Fourth Estate publications which indicated that the minister’s login access was used for fraudulent activities.
However, Dr. Adutwum denied the allegations, which were also captured in the report of an investigative committee he set up last year to look into similar acts of corruption in the school placement system.
He accused the former Director General of the Ghana Education Service, Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, of being the brain behind the accusations.
He proceeded to walk listeners through what he said was an elaborate protocol system that benefitted a long list of people including heads of missions, old students and employees of the Ministry of Education.
Fact-Check Ghana has verified some claims Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum made and presents the facts below.
Claim 1: “He [former Director General of the GES, Prof Opoku Amankwa] had a password and I also had one. His password wouldn’t allow him to see what my people did. It was his staff that did the work not him. How did he know that his staff didn’t collect anything[bribe]? You look at God and claim ‘nothing untoward happened at my [Prof Opoku-Amankwa] end but for someone else, something happened.’”
The Fourth Estate established through its investigations that only two persons—the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum and the then Director General of the Ghana Education Service, Prof Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa—had full access to placement into category “A” schools as well as protocol placement into such schools.
Throughout The Fourth Estate’s publications, the former Director General said he and Dr Adutwum must shoulder the responsibility in the case of any fraud associated with protocol placement of students into senior high schools.
“If there is fraud in the matter, then I, as the Director-General, and the minister should take responsibility. I fully accept and agree, but I knew that I was part of it and I wanted to actually make sure that there were no challenges with it,” he told The Fourth Estate in an interview.
Similarly, when Prof. Opoku-Amankwa appeared before the committee the minister set up to investigate the school placement fraud in 2022, he owned up to his part in a scam that foxed the system.
“In conclusion, the Director General admitted that he cannot fully absolve himself from any issues of corruption because he delegated his access to one of his officers to do the work for him. He, however, went on to say that one good thing about the system is that anytime someone logs in with his credentials he gets a notification alert to enable him to inquire into what was being done.”
It is therefore not true that Prof. Opoku-Amankwa cleared himself of any wrong that plagued the school placement system.
Claim 2: “If something untoward happened from my side, he [Prof. Opoku-Amankwa] should report to the police, let them investigate and arrest the person who did it. If a crime has been committed, the law says report it to the police. If you can’t do it, don’t defame anyone.”
During the 2022 placement process, Professor Opoku-Amankwa, who was unhappy about corruption in the placement, wrote to the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to investigate allegations of corruption in the placement process. Part of his letter to the two-state security agencies reads:
“In some instances, fingers have been pointed at top officials of the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service/Computerised School Selection and Placement System and the Free SHS Secretariat. Management of Ghana Education Education Service will be grateful if your office could launch a full-scale investigation into these allegations to establish their authenticity or otherwise,” he told The Fourth Estate.
The Fourth Estate understands that the NIB initially agreed and started the investigation, but exactly one month later, it wrote to the GES saying: “You may redirect your request to the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service for the necessary action.”
The GES had already also petitioned the police CID the same day it wrote to the NIB.
When asked about the progress of the investigations, the Minister of Education said he did not have any data to speak to the issue immediately but said the security agencies were working on it.
Prof Opoku-Amankwa said aside from the first day he was interviewed by the CID as part of the investigations, the probe into the school placement fraud did not progress any further.
Based on the documents available, it is completely false to suggest that Prof Opoku-Amankwa did not report the alleged corruption to the police.
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