The Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has announced the suspension of its President Mr. Samuel Sagoe and its Financial Controller Mr. Yussif Suleman as a punitive measure over allegations of embezzlement of funds.
This was contained in a press statement signed by leading GRASAG leadership including Senate Chairperson, Rt. Hon. Saadatu Lawal Garbey.
Below is the full statement on the disciplinary action taken:
NATIONAL GRASAG SUSPENDS PRESIDENT AND FINANCIAL CONTROLLER
The national student’s association for postgraduate in Ghana, the Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has suspended its President in the person of Mr. Samuel Sagoe and its Financial Controller in the person of Mr Yussif Suleman following allegations of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds meant for the Graduate Research Trust Fund.
A coalition of local GRASAG institutional presidents petitioned the National GRASAG Senate over suspected embezzlement and misappropriation of funds meant for the Graduate Research Trust Fund by the President Mr Samuel Sagoe.
This led to the formation of a Commission of Enquiry to investigate into the matter and also a petition to scholarship secretariat to halt all transfer of funds to the current administration until this issue is resolved. The Graduate Research Trust Fund was established in the 2018/2019 academic year by the association to support graduate students who need more funds for their research work aside the Research and thesis grant government gives them through the Scholarship Secretariat.
The main source of funding for this fund is a Ghc 30 deduction from each student grant that is paid. Since its establishment, we have had two sets of payment of grants being made by the scholarship secretariat to graduate students hence two sets of deductions being made so far. An amount almost totalling Ghc 450.000. The President, Mr Samuel Sagoe went ahead to launch the fund on the 26th November 2020 amidst the controversies surrounding it which was pending the report of the fact-finding exercise by the Commission of Enquiry.
A report from the Commission of Enquiry indicate that all attempts to get evidence and supporting documents from the President, the Financial controller and the Scholarship Secretariat within their time frame of work, to either establish whether public funds have been embezzled and misappropriated or whether they have been properly managed proved futile. It also indicated the obstruction of their work by the officers in charge of the association’s finances, the President and the Financial controller.
It then later became an established fact that the President, Mr Samuel Sagoe has something he is hiding. With senate adopting the report of the commission of enquiry as a working document which has its recommendations binding it, a consensus was therefore made for the President and the Financial controller to step aside temporarily for an external investigative and forensic audit exercise to take place. They will be made to resume office if found not guilty or face the consequences of the law if found culpable.
The association will write to the Economic and Organised Crime Office and the National Investigation Bureau to investigate into the issue. It will move on to seek the services of a reputable external audit firm to audit the accounts of the association for the 2019/2020 academic year. The entire student body is agitated and the association is currently in a state of emergency as graduate students want to seek redress to this issue. The leadership of the highest decision-making body of the association before congress is constituted, the Senate sees this as a worrying situation resulting in a state of unrest in the association.
We believe that this is a step in the right direction as student leaders must be held accountable for the public funds of the association they lead. Per the constitution of the association, the Vice President is currently the acting president of the association. Thank you.
Rt. Hon. Saadatu Lawal Garbey.
ALBERT AWORTWI SAGOE
(DEPUTY SPEAKER OF SENATE)
DORA BAFFOUR AWUAH (SENATE)