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11 April 2014

Academic Fraud At Ghana Gas.

The Board of Directors and the CEO of the Ghana National Gas Company (Ghana Gas) have been accused of shielding staff of the company found to have committed various forms of academic fraud to secure top management jobs with the company.

Critics say despite the Board of Directors and CEO suspicions that at least two out of the four directors of the company have questions to answer about the academic qualifications on the CVs they used in securing their jobs, they have done little about it.

Staff sources say the Board and CEO have not acted with the same dispatch in dealing with the directors, compared to the quick dismissal of a junior officer who falsely claimed to possess a Masters degree he did not have.

But the Corporate Communications Manager of Ghana Gas, Mr. Alfred Ogbamey, insisted in an interview when reached on phone at press time Saturday morning that he could not comment on details of allegations of academic fraud put before him till he had apprised himself of the facts. He insisted, however, that “whatever findings you may have your hands on, if true, stems from the Board and the CEO’s directive for academic auditing of all certificates of every employee, and potential employee, of Ghana Gas.”

“I don’t see how the Board and CEO are blameable here when the same Board and CEO began the process of auditing academic certificates of employees. I’m not yet fully briefed on what findings may have come up, as the process is still ongoing, and is meant to shape the company to be among the best in its field as Ghana Gas approaches the challenging operational stages of delivering gas to the people of Ghana.”

The Enquirer can confirm that the Director of Power Projects, Mr. Jacob McWood and the Director of Finance, Mr. Baluri Kassim Bukari, have failed in satisfactorily convincing management of the company that they have the requisite certificates they used to secure their jobs, several months after the company demanded those certificates.

Intelligence gathered by this paper suggests that the Director of Finance, Mr. Baluri Kassim Bukari, got his appointment after partly claiming on his CV that he graduated with an Executive Master of Business Administration (Finance Option) from the University Of Ghana Business School in 2010.

He also claimed to have had a Master of Communications Management (Project Finance and Risk Management) from the University Of Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, Scotland, in 2004, having earlier qualified as a Chartered Institute of Management Accountant (CIMA) in 1999 from the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS).

On his CV, the Director of Finance also claimed he had been a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ghana (ICA) from the year 2000.

But this paper can authoritatively reveal that Mr. Bukari never graduated from Legon.

The Enquirer can further reveal that he is yet to complete the full process that makes him a member of ICA Ghana. Contrary to his claim of being a member of CIMA UK in 1999 as contained on his CV, this paper has also gathered that he became a member several years after the dawn of the last millennium.

Former mates of Mr. Bukari have told this paper that though they enrolled for the Executive MBA degree programme at Legon with him for the 2007/2008 academic year, he did not graduate. Described as brilliant with figures, Mr Bukari, was enrolled into the Legon Executive MBA programme with student ID number 10259453.

But intelligence sourced from the University of Ghana proves that contrary to his stated year of completion on his CV, the Director of Finance of the nation’s premier gas processing plant did not complete the programme.

The Enquirer is aware that Legon has denied the claim that Mr. Bukari graduated with an Executive MBA from the university in 2010.

According to Mrs. Emelia Agyei-Mensah of the Academic Affairs Directorate, “… Mr. Bukari enrolled for the Executive Master of Business Administration programme during the 2007/2008 academic year.

But “he did not however complete the requirements for the award of a degree”, Mrs. Agyei-Mensah wrote in response to recent enquiries by the gas company after responses by some of its staff set the company enquiring into the backgrounds of their certificates.

Per the position of Legon, the Director of Finance of Ghana Gas does not have an Executive MBA.

Significantly, evidence also shows that Mr. Bukari only recently sought to regularise his membership of ICA Ghana despite claims on his CV that he had been a member since the year 2000.

Sources say he initially wrote to ICA Ghana in 2006 to begin the membership application process.

In a letter dated October 2, 2006 and signed by Chief executive Officer, Mr. Kwasi Asante, the ICA accepted his membership application form and gave him a certificate No 101656. But the ICA letter by Mr. Asante stressed that taking part in an induction course to be organised at a later date was a condition precedent to full membership of the ICA.

“We refer to your application and are pleased to advise that your application for membership of the institute has been approved. The certificate would be issued to you after taking part in an induction course to be organized at a later date” the ICA stressed.

A subsequent letter from the ICA the following year, February 19, 2007 and signed by the then Director, Member Services of ICA Ghana, Mr. C. L. S. Eghan, to Mr. Kassim Baluri Bukari, inviting him to an induction ceremony on March 29-30, 2007 also carried a proviso, stating:

“Please note that attendance is compulsory and non-participants shall not be issued with Membership certificates.”

Yet without taking part in the induction process, Mr. Bukari portrayed himself as an ICA member who went through these processes in the year 2000, six years before he began the process in 2006. As of Independence Day, this year, (nearly eight years after he began the process) he was still not an inducted member of ICA Ghana despite claiming to be one on his CV.

Information gathered from the ICA head office suggested that he quickly rushed to the Institute after the Board of Ghana Gas demanded the certificate that proves his membership of the reputable accountancy body. Sources at the ICA have said he went through a three-day induction programme last month and is scheduled to be presented with a membership certificate this weekend.

In a letter dated last week Tuesday, April 3, the current Director, Member Services of ICA Ghana, Mr. Osei Kwaku Adjaye-Gyamfi, wrote that:

“We write to confirm that Mr. Baluri Kassim Bukari has gone through a three day Induction Programme held from 19th to 21st March 2014 at African Regent Hotel Accra.

He will be formally presented with a Certificate of Membership on the 12th day of April 2014 at the College of Physicians and Surgeons Hall.”

All these events come months after the Board of the gas company became suspicious of the professional qualifications of the Director of Finance and Director of Operations following their failures to produce their educational certificates for filing by the company.

The Board of Directors of the company has former Finance Minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey as Chairman and former Health Minister and CEO of Ghana Gas, Dr. George Sipa-Adjah Yankey as member.

The other Board members are Dr. Valery Sawyer and Messrs. Thomas Manu, Eric Yankah and Agbesi Dzakpasu, the Company Secretary.

Source: The Enquirer


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