Claim: Beneficiaries of the government’s rental assistance scheme have shared their testimonies on the new website.
Verdict: False! The testimonies on the National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) website are plagiarised texts from another website and do not represent the efficiency of the government program.
On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, launched the National Rental Assistance Scheme.
Under the programme, workers in the formal and informal sectors will be given soft loans that will go directly into rent advance payment to landlords to afford the workers the ability to pay back the loan in monthly instalments.
The scheme was launched with a starting fund of GH¢30 million and is being implemented in five regions under phase I – Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western, Eastern, Bono East and Northern region.
A few reverse searches using keywords in some of the testimonies on the new website showed that they were taken from another website: Rent-Masters.com, a private Ghanaian company that offers the same service the government’s rental assistance scheme offers.
Reverse searching the phrase “I needed to find help for the kids… with help from,” for instance, showed that it had been used on the private company website.
A whois lookup shows that the website predates the government’s scheme and has for years had that testimony on its website.
This indicates that the government’s rental assistance scheme website plagiarised the testimony of Rent Masters.
Further checks revealed that besides the testimonies, several other portions of Rent Masters’ website were plagiarised for the government’s rental assistance scheme website.
For instance, the ‘about us’ page on both websites reveals that almost all the words used on the Rent Masters website were plagiarised from the government’s rental assistance scheme website.
Our research also reveals that the government, after the launch of the program, is outsourcing the operations to Rent Masters.
The testimonies published on the government’s rental assistance scheme website were plagiarised from another website owned by private individuals offering a similar service.