Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) has expressed its resolve to file complaint of financial loss at the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
According to Eduwatch, it has since 2020 been monitoring the use of COVID-19 and related funds as part of Government’s COVID-19 response in the Education Sector under the US$ 218 million GALOP Project. It revealed that in November 2021, it published the Ghana Education Sector COVID-19 Resilience Report, which raised serious issues relating to spending efficiency in the deployment of digital infrastructure by the Ministry of Education.
The report, Eduwatch indicated, observed duplications, lack of coordination, lack of awareness, and low usage of virtual learning and training platforms costing over GHC 20 million cedis under the auspices of the Ghana Library Authority and the Ministry of Education.
Contained in a statement, Eduwatch highlighted the “controversial contract between the Ministry of Education and TANIT LTD”. It stated that the contract with the IT firm was intended to provide a service that could have been undertaken with existing facilities and resources available to the Ministry of Education.
“In lieu of any refund by TANIT LTD or suit by the Ministry of Education within the next 30 days, we [Eduwatch] shall instruct our lawyers to file an official complaint of financial loss at the Office of the Special Prosecutor. The education sector has very severe funding constraints, the reason there exists over 5,000 schools taking place under trees and sheds, 4,000 primary schools lacking a JHS, leading to high drop rates especially in rural areas, and 40% of basic school pupils lacking desks.”Eduwatch
Owing to this, Eduwatch appealed to the Minister of Education to prioritize spending efficiency, value for money and make competitive procurement the norm for all major procurement activities at the Ministry of Education and its agencies.
Ministry of Education’s contract with TANIT Ltd
Eduwatch recounted that in July 2021, the Ministry of Education signed a contract worth GHC 5.7 million with TANIT LTD, to design, develop and deploy digital teacher training content and platform under the GALOP Project by November 2021. The service, it explained, was required to meet a target of training 40,000 teachers by the end of November 2021.
“According to the Ministry of Education, TANIT LTD failed to deliver according to schedule, leading to the expiration of the contract, compelling the Ministry of Education to train the 40,000 teachers on another existing platform available to the Ministry of Education without any additional cost.”Eduwatch
Eduwatch opined that the Ministry has since written to TANIT LTD for a refund of the initial payment of GHC 859,000 for which TANIT LTD is rather insisting on the payment of the remaining GHC 4.9 million based on its claim that the contract was completed regardless of the delay.
Commenting on the outcomes, Eduwatch revealed that the TANIT contract was unnecessary and “only fed into a string of procurement activities” under the COVID-19 Resilience Programme of the Ministry of Education with no value for money. It further noted that TANIT LTD was contracted through a single source procurement activity which is “regrettably” a norm at the Ministry of Education, whereas a competitive procurement approach would have provided better options.
“While the firm is virtually unknown among leading IT Solutions companies in Ghana, one wonders about the justification for its single-source procurement by the Ministry of Education. The failure of TANIT LTD to deliver is enough indication that the company lacked the capacity to deploy within the five months contracted period.”Eduwatch
Eduwatch expressed support to efforts by the Ministry of Education to recover all payments made to TANIT LTD in view of their non-performance and further urged the Ministry to sue for a refund of the said GHC 859,000 paid to TANIT LTD and other consequential losses incurred.