A nationwide crackdown on payroll fraud is set to begin next week and is expected to force all civil servants to justify their employment status.
This is part of government’s radical steps to remove ghost names from the country’s payroll.
The Auditor General’s Department is teaming up with the Special Prosecutor to enforce the measure which starts in the Central Region from the July 17.
All civil servants in the region will have a 10-day window to produce evidence of their employment and those who cannot do so will face prosecution.
Auditor General, Daniel Domelovo, gave details of the plan when he spoke at a news conference held jointly with the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu in Accra Wednesday.
“Once you are the head of a government entity – a school, hospital, department or a ministry – you have a duty to ensure that it is only people who are working for you who are on the payroll.
“The regulation continues to say that immediately one of your employees leave your employment, you are supposed to first notify the Accountants General’s department, Integrated Personnel and Payroll Database (IPPD) of the Ministry where the person is working for them to stop the salary,” he added.
He said managers are fully aware that the information to IPPD will not get to the Ministry on time so they are obligated to write to the bankers of the employees to stop the salary.
“People don’t do this so when we come for audit all they do is show us a letter they have sent to the IPPD, but the law did not say that. So, we will need evidence from any manager to show the steps they took,” he said.
Mr Domelovo did not mince words in sounding warning to the banks. He said they will be surcharged if they fail to send the credit the consolidated account once the money is paid into the salary suspended account.
“Otherwise, if we get you ourselves, you will pay and face prosecution at the same time and you may not find that palatable,” he warned.
Mr Domelovo emphasised that neither his office nor that of Mr. Amidu is interested in witch hunting anyone but they are embarking on an objective exercise.
“Auditing is about evidence so produce the evidence and don’t come and say ‘please trust me’ when you don’t have an appointment letter as a teacher.
“Even if you are genuinely on the payroll, we want to know whether the position you are occupying is correct.
“When did you join the payroll and how did you get to where you are on the payroll are all things that are of interest to us,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu says his office will deal with each individual culpable together with their self-seeking collaborators.
“We are trying to depart from the former procedure where the Auditor General submits a report to parliament, it is discussed and that ends it, that will change with the two of us in charge,” he said.
He said while auditors are auditing any entity, if they find anything that requires his office to come through, they should immediately call his attention as long as it is related to corruption.
However, the Civil and Local Government Staff Association, CLOGSAG is raising concerns about the new measures.
Executive Secretary, Isaac Bampoe Addo, told Joy News’ he is not aware of the new decision.
He said they have to look at the mandate of the Special Prosecutor and Auditor General whether they have the right to probe into the payroll of civil servants since what they are talking about is a purely Human Resource function.
“They are supposed to audit the HR process, but who watches the watchman..when consultancies have been chasing ghosts all these years, the two agencies should access the systems…I have been declared a ghost three time and I resurrected. What happened?” he quizzed.