Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has issued directives to the management of Dr Hilla Limann and Bolgatanga Technical Universities, instructing them to recover GH¢482,855.22 that had been disbursed to a lecturer holding a fraudulent certificate, as well as two lecturers who were on study leave.
The 2021 Auditor General’s Report highlighted that a sum of GH¢376,244.22 was paid to a lecturer at Bolgatanga Technical University who had been utilizing a counterfeit master’s degree certificate.
The lecturer in question, Emmanuel Akay, purportedly employed a fabricated certificate to draw a salary from October 2015 to September 2021.
The report revealed that Akay had been unable to complete his studies at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) due to an unfinished project, but resorted to creating a counterfeit certificate, which he then submitted to the university to secure a promotion.
Similarly, at Dr Hilla Limann Technical University, two lecturers by the names of Sabastian Dagua and Roder Sark received allowances totaling GH¢46,680 and GH¢59,931, respectively, during their study leave.
However, they failed to fulfill their bond obligations upon completing their courses and subsequently resigned from the university.
The Auditor General’s report noted that these lecturers continued to receive various allowances, including responsibility, fuel, maintenance, and entertainment allowances, while they were on study leave.
During a public hearing conducted in Tamale to investigate the financial irregularities highlighted in the 2021 Auditor General Report, Dr. James Klutse Avedzi, the Chairman of PAC, mandated both universities to promptly reclaim the funds from the lecturers or face financial penalties for the losses incurred by the state.
He emphasized that the government needed to reevaluate the concept of study leave with pay, as some individuals were exploiting it.
Dr. Avedzi underscored, “The intent behind study leave is for lecturers to further their education and return to impart knowledge to students; if they do not return, the government bears the loss.”
He also urged universities to conduct thorough background checks on potential lecturers to ensure they possess the requisite qualifications.
In response to these findings, the Vice-Chancellor of Dr Hilla Limann Technical University, Professor Elias Sowley, reported that the university had alerted the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to expedite the recovery of funds from the implicated lecturers.
Likewise, the Vice-Chancellor of Bolgatanga Technical University, Prof. Samuel Erasmus Alnaa, confirmed that EOCO had issued a warrant for the arrest of the accused lecturer after the university’s attempts to recover the funds were unsuccessful.
He revealed that the lecturer had even resorted to using a fictitious law firm to intimidate the university during its pursuit of the funds.
PAC has commenced public hearings in Tamale to deliberate on the 2021 Auditor General’s reports. These reports encompass audits of universities, polytechnics, and pre-university educational institutions within the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Savannah, and North East regions.
The hearings also encompass reports on the management and utilization of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund and other statutory funds.
The committee’s hearings are anticipated to conclude on Friday.