The Auditor-General’s Department and the Office of the Special Prosecutor are collaborating to audit the payroll of the entire public service.
The Issue of ghost names has bedevilled the government’s payroll for years, in spite of the frequent cleansing of the payroll through the deletion of thousands of ghost names.
The Auditor-General’s Department, the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Ministry of Finance, through the support of the World Bank, are embarking on this novel exercise.
According to the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, the exercise would commence next week from the Central Region.
Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Domelevo urged all heads of departments to cooperate with the audit by providing all documents required for the exercise.
“Those not entitled to earn but are earning on the payroll will be handed over to the Special Prosecutor for prosecution. If you think your name has been inserted on the payroll wrongly, you have to run and purge yourself by quickly refunding that money to the government,” he warned.
He again warned that heads of departments would be held accountable for ghost names on their payrolls.
He, accordingly, urged them to do the needful by cleansing their payrolls and refunding the money wrongfully paid to the government chest if they did not want to be caught in the web.
Mr Domelevo warned banks to transfer money paid into suspended salaried accounts into the Consolidated Fund or risk being surcharged.
He assured public servants and heads of departments that the exercise was not meant to witch hunt them but geared towards protecting the public purse.
He called on the media to support the exercise, saying the initiative was different from the periodic payroll audits that were carried out.
He expressed the hope that the exercise would result in the creation of more jobs for people who would be employed and paid through the gains from the payroll audit exercise.
Mr Domelevo pleaded with public servants to sacrifice to help the state recover funds that had been lost because there were ghost names on the payroll.
He clarified the fact that it was not the Controller and Accountant-General who was responsible for deleting ghost names from the payroll but rather the heads of departments.
Making an input at the press conference, the Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, urged departments to notify the Office of the Special Prosecutor before annual audit reports were completed, so that the office could investigate and act.
He said his job as the Special Prosecutor was to prevent, investigate, prosecute, recover assets and proceeds of corruption and corruption-related issues, for which reason there was no need for him to wait for complaints before investigating corruption-related issues.
He said the public should, therefore, disabuse their mind that his office dealt with only petitions and called for support from the media to nip corruption in the bud.
Mr Amidu told journalists that the Office of the Special Prosecutor would not follow emotions to rush into prosecutions.
“We will act professionally, due process will be followed and we will prosecute cases in the national interest,” he said.
He gave an assurance that although his office was fairly new, it was acting with the resources available to it.
The Deputy Auditor-General, Mr George Winful, said the payroll audit would begin on July 17 and end on July 27, 2018 to bring a closure to the perennial headache of ghost names.
He said the special audit exercise would be launched on July 16, 2018 and called for cooperation from all public sector employees for the successful rollout of the exercise.
He said if any public official refused to participate in the exercise, it would mean he or she was a ghost and his or her name would, accordingly, be deleted from the payroll.
He explained that such a name so deleted could only be restored on the payroll through a court order.
After the exercise had been completed in the Central Region, Mr Winful said, it would be replicated in other regions in due course.