One of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), lecturers cited in the 2019 Auditor General’s Report for abandoning ship after receiving state aid to further their education says he has started repaying.

Dominic Npoanlari Dagbanja in a rejoinder confirmed that indeed he has not returned to post after being sponsored by the state to study in Australia in 2018.

But he disclosed that he has been repaid ¢223,260.41 with a balance of ¢104,539.83 which he is “saving to pay in due course”.

“The terms of the contract for study leave with pay required me to return to GIMPA upon completion or to pay the amount spent on me if I did not return to post,” he stated in his rejoinder.

“As my return to post delay, I wrote to GIMPA about the option of repayment. I have since paid ¢223,260.41, leaving a balance of ¢104,539.83 which I have been saving to pay in due course.”

Read the full rejoinder below:

I write to refute the media publication to the effect that I “bolted” and failed to pay or to take steps to pay Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration’s (GIMPA) after being on study leave with pay to study for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Law outside Ghana. The publication, which appeared on the website of Joy Online on 29 March 2021, is false and without merit. The core message of the publication is that certain Ghanaian university lecturers received public funding to undertake PhD research outside Ghana and upon completion of their studies they never returned to their posts and never paid back the money. I am the only person specifically named among the staff of GIMPA to have gone on study leave with pay and that I did complete the said programme but never returned to post and never paid back the money.

It is true that I was on study leave with pay to undertake research leading to a PhD in Law in New Zealand and that I have not returned to my post since completion of the PhD. However, at the material times since completion, I have been in touch with GIMPA. The terms of the contract for study leave with pay required me to return to GIMPA upon completion or to pay the amount spent on me if I did not return to post. As my return to post delayed, I wrote to GIMPA about the option of repayment. I have since paid Gh₵223,260.41, leaving a balance of Gh₵104,539.83 which I have been saving to pay in due course. My dealings with GIMPA all this while has been one of reciprocal candour, honesty and good faith. The claim then that public money was spent on me to study and I failed to repay is completely false because it cannot be supported by the record of my interactions and dealings with GIMPA.

The media publication appeared to have relied on the Report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts of Ghana: Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions for the Period Ended, 31 December 2019 (Ghana Audit Service, 2020), dated 22 October 2020. In March 2019, I had already written to GIMPA to repay. Thus, the facts about my exercise of the option to repay and payments I actually made were available and accessible from me or GIMPA in 2019 and 2020 when the 2019 audit report was prepared and in March 2021 when the media began to circulate the content of the said audit report. The one-sided and unfair report and publication would have been avoided if the Auditor-General had these facts about my interactions with GIMPA and the repayment made.

These report and publication have damaged my name and reputation in the minds and estimation of not only the Ghanaian community, but the global community at large given the global accessibility of the fora through which the report and media publication have been circulated. I have had people in Australia, Ghana, New Zealand and United States contact me drawing my attention to this publication. That these report and publication about bolting or running away and not paying have stained my name and reputation is reflected in comments made by some of the readers.

I hope Joy Online would retract its publication and apologise.