Government has denied any mischief in the veiled dismissal of the Government Statistician, Dr. Grace Bediako, citing her incompetence in the management of some international partner sponsored projects.

The explanation behind the government action will open a new phase in the debate over the real reason behind the “proceed on leave” order.

In a press statement, the Chairman of the Ghana Statistical Service Board, Prof. Francis Dodoo, explained that it was not true the allegation by a section of the media that the action was because Dr Bediako had refused to consent to the doctoring of figures to favour the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in certain regions, ahead of the 2012 general elections.

He disclosed that sponsors of the projects, the World Bank, EU and DFID, after assessing the projects, were not enthused about her performance.

Dr. Philomina Nyarko was asked to act on behalf of Dr. Grace Bediako, alongside the creation of three additional temporary/acting appointments in an effort “to shore up upper management and address fundamental concerns about the effectiveness of the Ghana Statistical Service.”

It was untrue that in the absence of Dr. Bediako, a certain Mr. Opoku Manu Asare should have assumed the position, the board noted, adding that “there is no hierarchy of first/second deputy in the Service, and indeed Dr. Nyarko was already acting for the Government Statistician during the latter’s very recent visit to South Africa.”

Regarding the allegation that there had been attempts at doctoring census figures, Prof Dodoo explained, “No one has asked anyone in management to doctor any figures on the census, for any reasons including the 2012 elections. Also, and for the avoidance of doubt, there has been absolutely no request or directive from Government in this direction.”

While assuring that the Service would remain independent in the delivery of its functions, he also denied the suggestion that anyone was trying to take control of a World Bank fund.

A $7m project to support the implementation of the Ghana Statistics Development Plan did not impress representatives of partners who conducted a mission to the Ghana Statistical Service from 9th January 2012, the statement noted.

The board pointed out that based on the evidence or performance and poor delivery of the project, “the partners were inclined to recommend that funding from the flows from the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) be stopped”.

Concerns had been expressed also about the insufficient and inconsistent responses received about the status of the census results and whether this could meet the March 31deadline, the board observed.

It added, “From their calculations, the pace of progress suggested to the partners that the results could not be completed before mid-April and would most likely not come in before end of May.”

The international partners, according to the board, praised the Deputy Government Statistician, Dr. Nyarko, for her handling of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and wondered why this contrasted with the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) both of which were being delivered by the same institution.

The board’s action, the statement explained, should be seen in the direction of saving the MDTF for Ghana and to restore the confidence of the international partners to ensure continued support in future.

It remains to be seen how these explanations will be digested by those who raised a red flag over the “proceed on leave” order.

Government Statistician Grace Bediako was ordered to proceed on leave while she was in South Africa, an action which the largest opposition NPP regarded as untoward.

Source Daily Guide Ghana

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