The Ghana National School Feeding Caterers Association (GNSFCA) alleged that the Ghana National School Feeding Secretariat paid an estimated amount of more than GHS 12,998,767.52 to “ghost schools”.
He said schools, which numbered more than 511 across the country, had not been part of the program.
GNSFA public relations officer Caroline Aboagye at a press conference in Accra on Thursday said some schools had been smuggled into the program’s payment system, including 139 schools in the Volta, 59 in Ahafo, 43 in the east, 41 in the Ashanti Region, 33 in Greater Accra, 30 in the center, 12 in the north, 11 in the west, 10 in the northwest and 9 in the Bono regions of the country .
She said that the current leadership of the Secretariat has proven incompetent due to leaks and mismanagement of funds.
“The caterers were not ready to work with the national coordinator and his subordinates. They must go for the betterment of caterers and school children. It is very sad to say that the caterers received threats from their zonal and regional coordinators when they expressed their grievances, ” she said.
The PRO requested the Chairman to investigate the ongoing fraudulent activities at the Program Secretariat.
She said that while the administration of the GSFP had improved significantly, it had faced several challenges such as late payment of grants and their indebtedness to caterers contributed to the inefficiency of many of them.
The Association commended the President and Ministers of Finance, as well as the MoGCSP for their tremendous support to the program.
Mr Siba Alfa, Head of Public Relations, Ghana School Feeding Program (GSFP), in an interview with Ghana News Agency in Accra, refuted the caterers’ claims.
He said the schools they paid for were all legitimate and part of the program’s system.
Mr Alfa said they were concerned about how the caterers had a press conference without involving them on their issues as they were working together.
He said they should have contacted the Secretariat with evidence of their requests for them to be investigated, while urging them to engage in dialogue with them to have the issues resolved amicably.
Mr Siba noted that some caterers who had not been on their system and did not have a contract with them had claimed that they had worked but had not been paid.
He invited these caterers to visit their offices although it was illegal for them to take schools and cook for them without the permission of the Secretariat, so that their claims with evidence that they had rendered services are studied and regulated.
He called on caterers who had contracts with them and who had not been paid due to “little issues” including a mismatch between names and e-zwich numbers, to be patient as they would definitely be paid.