The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is having an uphill task of retrieving an amount of £57,085 from the scholarship secretariat after the Ghana High Commission in London had come to its aid to pay £93,395 for five Ghanaian students who were facing ejection from their various campuses in the United Kingdom in 2012.
The scholarship secretariat has been able to pay only £36,309 out of the amount and according to the Foreign Affairs minister, Hannah Tetteh, her outfit had sent constant reminders to the secretariat about the outstanding amount to be refunded to the London Mission, but to no avail.
This came to light when the minister led top officials from her ministry to face the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Monday to answer queries raised in the Auditor-General’s report for 2011, 2012 and 2013 on the various Ghana missions abroad.
When the chairman of the committee, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, asked the minister whether she would consider a court action against the Scholarship Secretariat to be able to get the money back, she said it would be difficult for a government agency to take another government agency to court and that the only option would be to keep on reminding the Secretariat about its indebtedness to the ministry and the need to pay back the money.
Ms. Hanna Tetteh was also questioned about a range of issues relating payment of unearned salaries to some workers in the missions abroad as well as overpayment of per-diem and overtime allowances to some workers, especially in Italy and France, and unaccounted visa and consular fees. She said all those workers captured by the report had refunded the monies to the state.
Another specific issue that caught the attention of the committee was the payment of $5,839 by the state to repatriate eight stranded Ghanaian footballers who were lured to Iran by one Isaac Adomako for football contracts in that country and eventually left them to their fate in 2013 until the Ghanaian mission in Iran came to their aid.
After the repatriation, the football agent was asked to pay back the money to the state but he had refused to do that so the committee chairman asked the Minister for foreign Affairs to alert the police to cause his arrest so that the money could be retrieved.
The Minster indicated that the issue or luring unsuspecting Ghanaians to the Gulf States for lucrative employment had assumed an alarming proportion and that her ministry, the ministries of Employment and Labour Relations and the Interior recently met to see how the government could come in to curb the situation.
According to her, in Saudi Arabia, many Ghanaians who had been sent to the country by employment agencies had seen the reality and want to come back home.
“As I speak to you the conference room of our mission in Riyadh has been turned into a hostel with many Ghanaians taking refuge there,” she disclosed, adding that out of the employment agencies, only 22 are legally registered with more than 200 illegal ones operating and deceiving Ghanaians and other nationals.
Ms. Tetteh added that the government would crack down on these illegal employment agencies to restore some sanity in recruiting unsuspecting Ghanaians to the Gulf States for some menial jobs.
Source: Daily Guide