Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education

It appears that past allegations of misapplication of funds for Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP) 7/2B and other issues against the Minister for Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, would affect his fight to win the favour of the bigwigs of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the running mate position.

Dr. Adutwum, according to information gathered, is working hard to be considered as the running mate to the NPP flagbearer, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia for the 2024 general election.

However, party insiders believe, the GALOP 7.2b alleged scandal could be a dent on his vice-presidential ambition.

This is because the Education Minister is now said to be a subject of investigation by one of the top anti-corruption agencies in the country.

This paper has gathered that the said investigation is still at the preliminary stage and that should the anti-corruption agency establish a prima-facie case against the minister, it will move into a full-blown probe and make it public.

This action, party sources pointed out, could ruin the chances of the Bosomtwi lawmaker for the running mate position.

The GALOP issue

In June 2020, President Nana Akufo-Addo launched GALOP 7.2b, a World Bank-funded and managed project which was the single largest investment in Basic Education in the history of Ghana. The US$218.7 million project was implemented by the Ministry of Education and its agencies.

The project has an original financing component (Part 1-4) and an Additional Financing (AF) component, the GPE COVID-19 Accelerated Grant for supporting COVID-19 Coordinated Education Response Plan for Ghana for Continued Learning, Recovery, and Resilience in Basic Education (Part 5). This Part 5 made available to the Ministry of Education, a US$14.8 million grant from the GPE.

Funding was performance based which meant that disbursement of funds was made when certain agreed activities were achieved under the project.

Execution of the GALOP 7.2b project commenced under Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, then Minister of Education who was very successful in the execution of the project, spurring the release of US$9.2 million from the GPE COVID-19 Grant to undertake other activities under the project.

In December 2020, an IT company, TANIT, was approved by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to design, develop and deploy a training platform with content to train a minimum of 40,000 teachers as part of a critical PBC which was to release US$1.2million.

The contract award, according to media reports, coincided with the transition period following the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Therefore, the execution of the project was halted upon a directive from the Chief of Staff until a substantive Minister was appointed to the Ministry of Education.

Appointment of Adutwum

When Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, who was then a Deputy Minister for Education was appointed the substantive Minister of Education in March 2021, he, unfortunately, delayed the process related to the training for almost five months.

On July 26, 2021, Dr. Adutwum and the Ministry of Education, finally signed a contract with the PPA-approved company but changed the scope of the project to only include the development of the platform and not the training.

This means that the development of content to train the targeted 40,000 teachers was excluded from the contract, raising eyebrows as to which other firm Dr. Adutwum will engage to execute this exercise.

This process was further delayed, including a delay in the payment of Phase I of work done despite the availability of the US$9.2million that had been released by the World Bank for the implementation of the project.

As the deadline of November 30, 2021, for the completion of GALOP neared, Dr. Adutwum then directed the Head, M&E Unit of the Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation (PBME) Division of the Ministry of Education to allegedly put together a report on the achievement of GALOP – P165557 PBC 7.2B to convince the World Bank for the release of US$1.2million.

The money was meant to execute the GALOP 7.2b. However, it was alleged that the project was never executed by Dr. Adutwum and the ministry, triggering a probe by the World Bank and its developing partners.

Dr. Adutwum has since denied any wrongdoing in the execution of the GALOP 7.2b project.

According to NPP insiders, this may not auger well for the governing party if Dr. Adutwum is chosen as the running mate as it will potentially be a negative campaign tool for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Many NPP faithful believe Dr. Adutwum’s knowledge on educational policy and implementation is second to none as he has spearheaded the educational reforms under the Akufo-Addo government with remarkable skill.

However, due to the GALOP 7.2b matter and other emerging negative issues, the governing party cannot afford to risk having him as a running mate.

Fresh issues

Dr. Adutwum’s alleged involvement in the school selection and placement system where admission into the various senior high schools were allegedly being given to the highest bidders for monetary return is also under investigation.

Again, on May 20, 2024, one of the government’s anti-corruption agencies, Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) headed by Kissi Agyebeng, publicly announced an enhanced investigation exercise his office in collaboration with the Controller and Accountant General (CACG) was undertaking within the Ghana Education Service in the Northern Region aimed at prosecuting persons who were promoted to non-existent school, validated deceased, untraceable, and retired persons and persons who have vacated their posts.

OSP was updating the public over the commencement and outcome of its investigation exercise on the Government of Ghana Payroll Administration (Phase I Vol. I).

School Placement

In early 2023, the Fourth Estate revealed in its publication that a fraudulent payment for the placement of a student into a category “A” school in 2022 was traced to the login access of Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, a situation, he vehemently denied.

The publication cited then Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, as having corroborated to such a claim in his testimony to the Ministry of Education’s investigative committee that was probing alleged corruption in the school placement.

Persons familiar with the investigations say all the perceived acts of corruption by the Education Minister and some other government appointees are being thoroughly investigated.

Source: The Custodian