Twenty-five officials of four assemblies have been interdicted for allegedly recruiting people, back-dating their appointments and paying the supposed salary arrears to themselves.
The offence was committed between September and December 2013, during which period a number of staff were illegally recruited into the Local Government Service.
However, luck ran out for the 25 who work in the Tain District Assembly in the Brong Ahafo Region, Central Tongu Municipal Assembly in the Volta Region, Asunafo North Municipal Assembly in the Brong Ahafo Region and Akwapem South Municipal Assembly in the Eastern Region.
Their activities were uncovered by a five-member task force established by the Local Government Service Secretariat (LGSS) to collect data on the workforce in the various assemblies.
The work of the task force came on the heels of a European Union (EU)-funded project which sought to harmonise and create a reliable data for the 216 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).
According to the Head of the LGSS, Dr Callistus Mahama, “when we recruit staff, the person’s salary is computed from the date of assumption, but with the connivance of some officers, they back-date their appointments into several months so that when the salaries are paid, they take the money from the staff”.
He said all the cases were being investigated by the security agencies and once that had been done, appropriate sanctions and actions would be taken against the 25 officials to serve as a deterrent to other staff members.
Dr Mahama did not give details of the amount that had been allegedly pocketed by the 25 officials.
The EU is supporting the LGSS to create digital data on its workforce, such that by a click, the head and the human resource manager of the service will be able to know the staff strength of all the MMDAs; those working, those on leave and those on training, or what training had previously been provided, among other information.
Dr Mahama told the Daily Graphic that it was in the course of collating and verifying the workforce provided by the assemblies themselves that those ills were detected.
He said the database was also designed to indicate the classes of workers, their designations, postings and transfer history to make the management of staff easier and better under the LGSS.
Dr Mahama said illegal recruitment was a major issue in some MMDAs but expressed the determination of the service to stamp out the practice to ensure that money generated by such assemblies was expended on developmental projects and not for the payment of people who had been engaged through the back door.