Kissi Agyebeng — Special Prosecutor
Kissi Agyebeng — Special Prosecutor

OSP, Controller and Accountant General stop GH¢34m payment to ‘ghosts’ in Northern Region

A joint corruption risk assessment and investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) Government Payroll Administration has saved the country about GH¢34 million.

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The investigation into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences traced GH¢2.8 million as unearned monthly salaries being paid to deceased persons, retired, vacated their posts, flagged as missing staff, or whose whereabouts were unknown.

The investigation and assessment were carried out in the Northern Region, covering educational institutions under the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Tamale Teaching Hospital only.

The OSP, upon discovering the irregularities, directed the blockage of the amount and removal from the government payroll. If undetected, the future savings of that amount in addition to future periodic upward pay adjustments for every year that the unearned salaries amount existed would have cost the country GH¢34 million.

Illegal validations

This was contained in a report issued yesterday and signed by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng. The report said in one instance it was discovered that a district assembly primary school in the Kumbungu District did not exist at all and yet, it was represented as staffed and the purported staff were being validated monthly and being paid salaries.

It also said some head teachers and heads of units were validating some persons whose whereabouts were unknown to them , while some validators were also validating persons who were deceased, retired or had vacated their posts.

Investigation, assessment

A joint team included investigators, tracers and assessors from the OSP and selected staff of the Payroll Processing Directorate of CAGD between December last year and April this year.

The team investigated and assessed 1,265 persons who had been flagged as high-risk of suspected corruption and corruption-related activities. 

Observation

The OSP and CAGD observed that the payroll system in the Northern Region was attended to by an alarming number of unauthorised and inactive validators. The report said most of the management units were found to be validating persons through the use of unauthorised and inactive validators’ credentials.

The report said the team also observed that transferred and released staff were being validated by their previous management units, creating a clear danger of unattested active or continuous engagement by the respective institutions.

It was observed that some schools had no management units to validate staff, therefore, the persons affiliated to the schools were either being validated by their previous affiliated schools or were being offloaded to the nearest schools for validation.

“This created grave problems of the unreliability of the validation process, especially in respect of the status of the nominal rolls of the district education directorates and the monitoring of actual attendance to duty,” the report said.

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