Don't Extort Monies From LEAP Beneficiaries To Buy Yams For Me - Otiko

The minister of Gender Children, and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba has cautioned Social Welfare Officers in the country to desist from extorting monies from beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP). 

She said since she assumed office, complaints and concerns from the beneficiaries, opinion leaders and community members indicated that LEAP officials had been taking monies from the beneficiaries. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day training workshop for Regional programme heads and District Social Welfare officers on a "Case Management Training" of LEAP, in Sunyani, Madam Otiko said such misconduct must stop.

"I cannot tell who is receiving or benefiting from the proceeds of the extortion. However, I wish to caution that henceforth this must stop..... I would not hesitate to sanction anybody found culpable of extortion."

She bemoaned the act of attaching her name to the act of extortion saying "Some of you say you are taking that GHS 2.00 and 3.00 to buy yams for me. Don't buy yams for me, please. This is fraudulent and 'haram'. If you cannot give to the poor, don't take from them."

Government Committed To Strengthening LEAP

The minister disclosed that in line with the President's vision of prosperity for all Ghanaians, the ministry has added Fistula, Autism, Cancer, and Cerebral Palsy patients as well hemophilia to the list of special cases under LEAP. 

This, she noted, was to strengthen the LEAP programme to achieve much more to enable Ghana alleviate the scourge of poverty and vulnerability in a progressive and sustainable manner.

"We will go back to the original design of the programme as well as tweak it to reflect emerging developments in cash transfer programmes globally. The original design of LEAP under the NPP government of president John Agyekum Kuffour was not to create lifelong dependency but to help households “LEAP” our of poverty."