A total of 80,000 copies of a quarterly magazine for teachers printed by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) at a cost of GH¢120,000 with monthly deductions from teachers’ meagre salaries have been shredded.
The official reason was that the magazines were error-ridden, but sources say it had to do with the publication of a speech by the then National President of the association, Mr Paul Agyei Boakye, which made mention of issues of corruption in the association and a promise to eliminate them to the barest minimum during his tenure of office.
The Finder’s investigation has revealed that GNAT incurred a debt of GH¢120,000 from printing the magazine, ‘The Teacher’, at a unit price of GH¢1.50.
Mr Peter Korda, head of public relations at GNAT, a man who prides himself as an astute journalist and once a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, superintended over the production of the January-June 2014 ‘error-ridden’ edition of the magazine.
The newly appointed General Secretary of the Association, Mr David Ofori Acheampong, said the editorial team “did not do a good job”, which led to the waste.
Initial information gathered by The Finder on the magazines indicated that some top officers of GNAT were unhappy about the content of a speech by the then National President of the association, Mr Paul Agyei Boakye, which mentioned, among others, issues of corruption and his resolve to eliminate them to the barest minimum during his tenure of office.
In that speech, the then president, Mr Paul Agyei Boakye, outlined his vision for the association as a newly elected president, stating his resolve to eliminate corruption in the association.
According to the former president, a portion of the speech, which appeared to have ruffled feathers at the very top of the association, that led to the shredding of the magazines read:
“Using the finances in the best interest of the members, I will focus on effective and efficient budgeting in line with our financial regulations to eliminate debilitating malfeasance and abuse of office in order to enhance the members’ welfare. Thus, by providing effective safeguards, we are likely to prevent losses or seal the leakages that create so much tension in the GNAT due to such thorough impunity”.
However, the newly elected General Secretary, Mr David Ofori Acheampong, said his briefing on the matter from officials who were privy to issues surrounding the decision to shred the magazines indicated that it contained “factual inaccuracies”.
According him, the magazine was filled with “historical distortions”, and would have created serious problems for the association if they were allowed to circulate.
Page 4 of the magazine, which catalogued the achievements of the then out-going General Secretary, Mrs Irene Duncun-Adanusa, virtually credited all the major achievements of the association to her.
For example, it claimed she was the brain behind the establishment of the Teachers’ Fund, an institution which existed before she assumed the position of the General Secretary of GNAT.
Secondly, she was credited with being the “brain child” of the establishment of the Teachers’ Village at Abankro, even though other members of the association had worked tirelessly to acquire lands and instituted plans for the village before she assumed office.
Additionally, Mrs Irene Duncun-Adanusa was credited as the one who conceived and brought to fruition the idea of residential apartments for staff and General Secretaries, though apartments already existed before she assumed office.
The current General Secretary said the national officers who took the decision to shred the magazine found these and many others as being at variance with another book, ‘A history of GNAT’, which catalogues the achievements of the association.
According to the General Secretary, the publication would have “been a complete distortion of the historical facts of the association as captured in the history of GNAT”.
Mr David Ofori Acheampong, who took over as General Secretary a couple of weeks ago, has, however, promised to ensure prudent management of the association’s resources and to move it to greater heights.