GH¢8m lost in payroll irregularities in public institutions – AG

09-09-2022

GH¢8m lost in payroll irregularities in public institutions – AG

The 2021 Auditor-General’s report on the Public Accounts of Ghana has revealed that Ghana lost a total of GH¢8,243,954.13 in the year 2021 due to payroll irregularities related to Public Boards, Corporations, and other Statutory Institutions.

According to the report, one major cause of such irregularities is management’s failure in exercising due diligence in supervising officers in charge of payroll validation in reviewing payment vouchers to ensure salaries were paid to only those who were entitled.

The report also cites that management of these public institutions failed to notify banks to stop payment of unearned salaries. The Controller and Accountant-General’s Department also did not promptly delete names of separated staff when notified to do so.

The Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, further disclosed that the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation is responsible for over GH¢2.9million of the total amount lost to payroll irregularities.

“Contained in the total irregularity of GH¢8,243,954 is an amount of GH¢2,992,444 attributed to Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in respect of avoidable pending judgement debt due to the termination of appointment of a former Director-General, judgement debt for the failure to pay long service award to employees, payment of unearned salaries and the late payment of 1st and 2nd tier pension contributions,” part of the report reads.

It is noteworthy that in 2020, the Auditor-General’s report revealed that Ghana lost over GH¢9.5million to payroll irregularities.

The Auditor-General advised management of these institutions to promptly notify the bankers of the separated staff to withhold salaries, as well as pay to government all unearned salaries.

“I also recommended that officers in charge of payroll should exercise due care in the discharge of their duties, as well as ensuring that 1st and 2nd tier contributions for their employees are promptly and regularly transferred to the various pension schemes. I also recommended that regulatory bodies should exercise due care regarding decisions involving termination of appointments,” the Auditor-General emphasised.

In a related development, it has been revealed that the Finance Ministry paid a total of GH¢1,112,895.96 in salaries for the period of January 2020 to December 2021 to three people whose names could not be traced on the nominal roll of the Finance Ministry.

“The GH¢1,112,895.96 in salaries paid was for the period of January 2020 to December 2021, but we could not trace their personal files and names on the nominal roll of the ministry,” the Auditor-General noted in the report.

The report reminded public officials of Regulation 86 of the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (L.I. 2378) which states that a Principal Spending Officer of a covered entity shall ensure that only the names of personnel who are eligible to receive payment for work done are kept on the payment voucher, and keep records of the nominal roll of the covered entity in a manner that ensures that the correct amount of emolument is paid.

The Auditor-General recommended that the GH¢1,112,895.96 should be recovered from the Chief Director and the payroll validators of the Finance Ministry.

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