The Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has said government is committed to ensuring that the University of Ghana is not privatized.
Mr. Yankah’s comments come weeks after the Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, indicated that the school might soon be privatized if it fails to meet its obligations in a $64 million agreement it entered into with a private company, Africa Integras.
“University of Ghana might be put up for sale because it entered into an agreement and the school is unable to abide by the terms and conditions of the contract. Under this contract, Legon is expected to pay 10 million dollars every year for 25 years. If Legon is unable to settle this loan, its assets will be seized,” the Minister had stated.
But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Professor Yankah said government will ensure the school remains a valuable state asset.
“It is our prime university, the number one university in the country – probably the number one in West Africa…Fortunately, there appears to be a resolution in the offing. Parties are talking as we speak now and there appears to a resolution in one form or the other. We will do anything possible to save the University. We will not just sit and allow the University to collapse.”
Prof. Aryeetey denies fraud claims in $64m UG deal
In 2017, this same agreement came up for discussion after the former Vice Chancellor of UG, Prof Aryeetey, was accused of failing to do due diligence when the deal was signed under his tenure.
He however rubbished these claims, explaining that UG had gone through all the right procedures before signing the agreement with the company.
Professor Aryeetey insisted the processes leading up to the signing of the agreement with Integras were transparent, with all relevant stakeholders being kept informed of all developments.
“There is no scandal at all in relation to the $64.4 million contract. Africa Integras signed an agreement that they were supposed to spend that money. As far as I know, by the time the project stopped, they had spent about $28 million. How does a phony company come and spend $28 million? You can see the buildings coming up and yet it has been written that I have signed an agreement with a phony company. We haven’t spent any money ourselves, it’s the ‘phony’ company that’s spending the money; how does a phony company put up buildings?,” Professor Aryeetey asked.
He also dismissed assertions that that he had received financial inducements to allow the project to proceed.
“I can assure the public that nothing untoward took place. The processes that were followed were very transparent. It’s being suggested that there was something corrupt, but there’s no such thing. I was never offered any money by any of the persons we dealt with. I have never asked for anything nor have I taken money from anybody in relation to this or any other project. Any suggestions of wrongdoing will be completely misplaced.”
The project was structured as a 25-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) contract.