The National Secretariat of the Ghana School Feeding Programme has refuted what it described as false claims by some uninformed caterers who are accusing the programme handlers of paying an amount of 12.9 million Ghana cedis to some 510 ghost schools in the 2019/2020 academic year.
The caterers who claim to be members of the ‘Ghana National School Feeding Caterers Association’ alleged that their independent investigations had led to the uncovering of the alleged ghost schools in all the 16 regions of Ghana.
However, Mr Shiba Alfa, Public Relations Officer of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, said the allegations are utterly false, misguided and misleading.
He described the allegation as a calculated attempt by one Ms Caroline Aboagye, a caterer in the Central Region who has joined forces with some mischievous elements bent on destroying the hard-earned reputation of the management of the GSFP.
Ms Caroline Aboagye who claims to be the PRO of the Ghana National School Feeding Caterers Association at a press conference in Accra fiercely attacked the personality of the National Coordinator of GSFP, Mrs Gertrude Quashigah.
Mr Siiba Alfa expressed disappointment about the indecent name-calling and tribal bigotry by Ms Aboagye and her group against Mrs Gertrude Quashigah and pointed out that the allegations from Ms Caroline Aboagye attest to how ill-informed she is about the operations of the school feeding programme.
He said the GSFP just as any other agency of the Government undergoes regular audits from the appropriate state institutions and that the Secretariat had never been implicated since the assumption of office of Mrs Quashigah.
“We have a very transparent payment process that conforms to standard public financial procedures. Thus, the feeding aspect of the programme has a separate account, which is lodged at the Bank of Ghana in the name of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP).
The National Secretariat of GSFP only facilitates payment by coordinating the process which involves the Ministry of Finance, Controller and Accountant General’s Department, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and finally, the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) which electronically transfers the feeding grants to caterers on their e-which cards”.
Mr Alfa explained that the National Secretariat of GSFP does not see, touch or disburse feeding grants; and it is therefore extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the GSFP leadership to divert funds meant for feeding to be used for private gains.
He challenged Ms Caroline Aboagye to come out with evidence of the alleged payment of 12.9 million cedis to non-existing caterers, provide the account details of those caterers and how much they received individually.
The Public Relations officer of the GSFP was emphatic that the current leadership of GSFP is not corrupt or incompetent.
“for the first time in the history of the school feeding programme, the management was able to make savings of over 27 million Ghana cedis from non-cooking days in the 1st term of this 2021 academic year and the money duly declared to the appropriate authorities.”
He said the GSFP Management says it is ever ready to subject itself to any investigation by the relevant agencies concerning the allegations levelled against the secretariat.