The Ministry of education in October 2021, spent GH₵2 million on a COVID-19 Tracker App that was never used, Investigative news platform, The Fourth Estate has reported.
The app was intended to track COVID-19 cases in junior and senior high schools across the country. This was after the government launched the national COVID-19 Tracker App in April 2020.
However, the Auditor-General’s report on the country’s expenditure on COVID-19 has revealed that the app was never used.
The ministry’s app was created under the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project (GALOP). GALOP was a five-year project with the objective to improve the quality of education in low-performing basic education schools and strengthen education sector equity and accountability in Ghana. The project was jointly funded by the World Bank, the Department For International Development (DFID), and the Global Partnerships for Education (GPE).
According to The Fourth Estate, it downloaded the App on Google Playstore in August 2022, but it could not log into the app.
The Audit Report
An audit report by the Ghana Audit Service on GALOP in June 2022 revealed that although the App was designed and developed, it was never deployed.
The audit report indicated that the non-usage of the App and other information technology (IT) infrastructure developed during the COVID-19 pandemic “could result in waste of government scarce resources.”
The audit report further indicated that IT infrastructure worth GH₵16 million procured under GALOP had been left idle.
That, according to the report, was because there was not enough collaboration between the procuring authorities and the implementing institution.
“The anomaly was attributed to late deployment of these tools, lack of consultation and coordination between the procuring Agencies (Ministry of Education and Ghana Library Authority and the user Agency (Ghana Education Service),” the report indicated.
Ministry of Education
Meanwhile, an official request to was sent the Ministry of Education in August 2022, for answers as to why it decided to develop an app although the government had already created one for the same purpose, but the Ministry refused to respond.
Even extra appeals to the Minister himself, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, for answers also proved futile.
Again, official requests, channelled through the Right to Information (RTI) Commission to compel the Ministry to respond to request for answers on the Covid Tracker failed to yield any result, as the Ministry simply refused to answer the questions.
After almost ten months of the Ministry of Education’s failure to grant The Fourth Estate’s request, the RTI Commission even fined the ministry a GH₵50,000 administrative penalty, with a warning that the penalty will increase by 10% if they failed to respond to the request within 14 days.
The RTI Commission also ruled that all the information requested by The Fourth Estate should be released within 14 days of its determination. However, after more than one month of the Commission’s ruling, the Ministry of Education is yet to furnish The Fourth Estate with the requested information.
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