The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has directed management of the Dr Hilla Limann and Bolgatanga Technical Universities, to retrieve GH¢482,855.22 paid to a lecturer with a fake certificate and another two on study leave.
According to the 2021 Auditor General’s Report, GH¢376,244.22 was paid to a lecturer at the Bolgatanga Technical University who was using a fake master’s degree certificate.
Emmanuel Akay is said to have used a fake certificate to earn salary from October 2015 to September 2021.
The report said Akay could not graduate from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) due to his outstanding project work but decided to forge a fake certificate and presented it to the university for promotion.
In the case of the Dr Hilla Limann Technical University, two lecturers – Sabastian Dagua and Roder Sark – were paid allowances of GH¢46,680 and GH¢59,931, respectively, while on study leave.
They, however, did not serve their bond after completing their courses and resigned from the university.
According to the report, the said lecturers were receiving responsibility allowance, fuel allowance, maintenance allowance and entertainment allowance while on study leave.
At a public hearing to probe financial irregularities that were raised in the 2021, Auditor General Report in Tamale, the Chairman of PAC, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, directed the two universities to retrieve the money from the lecturers with immediate effect or be surcharged for financial losses to the state.
He stated that study leave with pay was an issue that the government must take a second look at, as some employees were abusing it.
“The idea is lecturers should study and come back to impart the knowledge to children and if they fail to return then the government is losing,” Dr Avedzi added.
He also advised universities to do thorough background checks on lecturers before engaging them to ensure that they had the required qualifications.
Responding to the queries, the Vice-Chancellor of the Dr Hilla Limann Technical University, Professor Elias Sowley, said the university had reported the matter to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to get the said lecturers to refund the money, as a matter of urgency.
The Vice-Chancellor of the Bolgatanga Technical University, Prof. Samuel Erasmus Alnaa, also indicated that the victim had been declared wanted by EOCO after all efforts the university made to get him to pay the money failed.
He said the victim again used a fake law firm to threaten the university when it was pursuing him to retrieve the money, adding that he had been declared wanted by EOCO and efforts were being made to apprehend him.
The PAC has begun public hearings in Tamale to consider the 2021 Auditor General’s reports referred to the committee.
They include the report of the Auditor General on universities and polytechnics and all Pre-University Educational institutions in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Savannah and North East regions cited in the report for the period ending December 31, 2021.
Also, it will consider the reports of the Auditor General on the Management and Utilisation of District Assemblies’ Common Fund and other Statutory Funds.
The committee is expected to end the sitting on Friday.