One of the eight persons standing trial following the school placement fraud exposé by The Fourth Estate has revealed that a member of her syndicate squandered the money they collected from The Fourth Estate with the promise of changing placement.
One of the accused, Rachel Naa Dedei Aryeetey, who volunteered this information, explained in court that it was her accomplice’s impropriety that caused her delay to place a student into her school of choice despite receiving GHS 11,000 from The Fourth Estate undercover team.
The Fourth Estate team undertook an undercover stint that sought the placement of a student posted to Aburi Presbyterian Senior High School to be changed to Wesley Girls Senior High. This was to investigate alleged corruption in the school placement process. A member of Ms Aryeetey’s syndicate demanded and collected an amount of GHS 11,000 to effect the change.
“I want you to understand that your money was spent by someone,” Ms Aryeetey explained during the cross-examination of the second prosecution witness, The Fourth Estate journalist, Adwoa Adobea-Owusu, at the circuit court in Accra on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.
Ms Aryeetey, however, failed to disclose the name of the accomplice who took the money and spent it without effecting the change of placement.
Ms Aryeetey had to cross-examine The Fourth Estate journalist when the case was called because her lawyer, John Agbotey, failed to appear in court.
Justice Evelyn Asamoah, who’s presiding over the case said the lawyer’s written notice of absence which did not come with a medical report is not satisfactory.
She, therefore, compelled the accused to do her own cross-examination.
The case has since been adjourned to Wednesday, July 5, 2023.
The Fourth Estate investigations revealed that the eight accused persons worked with other intermediaries to manipulate school placement for students into senior high schools after demanding and collecting monies ranging from GHS 8,000 to GHS 20,000.
The eight have been charged with the crime of conspiring with public officers to commit a crime “using public office for profit [inserted by act 458, sec 3] contrary to section 179C [B] of the criminal offences act 1960[Act 29].”
The eight are Eric Aggrey, 36, a cleaner, Rachel Aryeetey, a caterer, Isaac Mensah, and Gilbert Afriyie Nkrumah, 23. The rest are Sebastian Appram, a staff of the Fisheries Commission’s Tema Regional Office, Bernard Kusi Agyemang, an operations manager with a logistics company, Eugenia Abigail Ahiable, an administrator, and Daniel Opoku, a foreman.
Two other persons, Atta Kuffuor Junior and Atta Kuffuor Senior are on the run for a similar offence.
Eric Aggrey, with the assistance of other intermediaries, changed placement from Apam Senior High School to Aggrey Memorial AME Zion School and from Presbyterian Senior High Technical School, Aburi, to Mfantsiman Girls in the Central Region.
Aggrey and his network demanded and collected GH₵ 19,500 for placing two candidates at Aggrey Memorial and Mfantsiman Girls, both in the Central Region.
Both Mr. Aggrey and Ms Aryeetey confessed to taking money from some people with the promise of manipulating the school placement system.
Ms Aryeetey also admitted and mentioned another accomplice, a private security guard in a basic school opposite her house as the facilitator for everyone she had assisted to get placement changed.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, has failed to appear before the Education Committee of Parliament to answer questions on the allegations raised in the exposé.
Investigation revealed that no member of the syndicate could have placed a student in any of the Category A schools without the involvement and approval of the Minister for Education or the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof Kwasi Opoku Amankwah, the only two individuals with passwords to Category A schools.
This means that changing the placement of students from other schools to Mfantsiman Girls Senior High School or Aggrey Memorial AME Zion Senior High School could only have been made with the approval of these two persons.
Prof Kwasi Opoku Amankwah has, however, extricated himself by explaining that his access was withdrawn just a week after the 2022 school placement began.
He said the alleged corruption in the school placement came to his attention but when he called for a thorough investigation into the matter, the state security agencies stopped the investigations with directives from ‘powers from above’. Prof Kwasi Opoku Amankwah was removed from office a few weeks after this.
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