US$150,000 Trip For Education Minister, National Service Boss & Others

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The Herald has intercepted some troubling documents from the National Service Scheme (NSS), revealing how state resources are being blown lavishly by the 7-month old new management led by acting Executive Director, Mustapha Ussif, together with the Education Minister, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh.

The documents exposes how the acting NSS boss and former Member of Parliament (MP) for Yagaba/Kubori, took a whopping US$150,000 from state coffers to waste on a 3-day workshop at Boston-Massachusetts in the United States of America (USA).

The workshop is taking place at Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) located at 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

Interestingly, what they took 7,772 kilometers to go and study for three days at US$150,000 is taught at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) which is under the Flagstaff House; the seat of government.

Details from the Bank of Ghana reveal that the US$150,000 was transferred from the accounts of National Service Scheme into an account belonging to the Bank of America in New York last week Tuesday, October 10, 2017, on the orders of Mustapha Ussif, who is currently in the US with eleven others, including John Kumah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) formerly Youth Employment Support (YES).

Apart from the Education Minister, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, also on the trip are; Kenneth Thompson, Victor Kwame Agyemang, Morgan Fianko Asiedu, Hene Akua Kwapong, Vincent Kwapong, Kwaku Appiah-Adu, Samuel Nii Odai and Kosi Antwiwaa Yankey.

According to The Herald’s information, they left Accra on Thursday night to the US to meet the huge money which had gone ahead of them minus flight, hotel, food and per diem arrangements.

Meaning additional money, has been forked out from state coffers to make those payments aside the US$150,000, which Bank of Ghana sent directly to Bank of America in New York.

The Herald is also told that, the delegation is largely made up of outsiders; leaving public servants at the NSS secretariat to wonder what benefits the US$150, 000 trip is to their institution, as the expertise will not be implemented in-house.

This paper, also saw a letter sent to John Kumah, informing him about his selection to be on the trip. It was dated May 8, 2017, meaning the trip was planned over months ago.

According to the acting Executive Director, the programme is to equip John Kumah with leadership skills, governance, among others.

GIMPA, which is under the Office of the President, runs the same subjects – leadership skills, governance – at its School of Public Service and Governance here in Accra. This implies, they could have gotten the same training done for them at a cheaper cost to the Ghanaian taxpayer, if there is a need for it at all.

 An invitation letter from the training institution sent to US Embassy in Accra and dated September 15, 2017 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) also seen by The Herald, had revealed that some members of the Ghanaian delegation, particularly the Minister of Education “will only be attending the welcome Reception on Day 0”.

This means, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, has no business traveling to the US, since he has no significant role to play apart from going to eat and drink at the reception.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), further revealed that “Team Ghana is a member of Cohort 5 of the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program and is participating in an in-person workshop, entitled MIT REAP Workshop 1”.

The invitation letter signed by MIT REAP’s Programme Manager, Melanie Shumate disclosed that “the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program has run successful with over 30 teams from around the world for the past five years”.

It added that “each year since its beginning, we have had participating faculty, government representatives, and business leaders travel to MIT Sloan to attend a three-day workshop which includes presentation by MIT Sloan’s faculty, interactive discussions, project meetings, and tours”.

It is not clear, how many people in the 11-member team, are being trained by the school.

It is also not clear, how much the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is charging the Ghanaian team per a member for the training, but it is certain GIMPA here in Ghana with US and Europe trained lecturers and professors, would not have charged US$150, 000 or any amount close.    

 More to come!

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