Franklin Cudjoe and Occupy Ghana peddle falsehood on payroll fraud– Ametor-Quarmyne

The determined campaign  of the Founding President of IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe and his Occupy Ghana, a supposed Non-Governmental Organization(Ngo) to peddle falsehood against  the Government of President John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress has been badly exposed by the Controller and Accountant-General.

On Tuesday January 13, 2015, Franklin Cudjoe Founding President of IMANI and a leading member of Occupy Ghana, circulated a ten-point note through the internet  and social media, claiming to have intercepted a very important and damning document from an international audit firm on the Government of Ghana’s payroll, the contents of which would make Ghanaians weep, he noted.

However, the document titled “Final Report-Payroll Assurance” authored by Messrs. KPMG  was actually commissioned by the Government of Ghana through the Controller and  Accountant-General  as far back as 2012, to audit the Government’s payroll, covering public sector workers in the country, to enable the Government take measures to weed out ghost names from its payroll. The report was published as far back as November, 2012.

All through last week and earlier this week Mr. Sydney Caseley-Hayford, said to be an Accountant and a member of Occupy Ghana has been hopping from one radio station to another parading that obsolete payroll audit report of 2012 the recommendations of which have  already been largely implemented by  Government  and accusing the Government of condoning payroll fraud.

However, in a sharp rebuttal of those IMANI/Occupy Ghana falsehoods, the Controller and Accountant-General has issued a press statement in which she has clearly exposed the falsehood being perpetuated by IMANI and its cohorts. The statement  said the CAGD has read IMANI’s “publication of extracts from an audit report that was commissioned by the Controller and Accountant-General to identify and eliminate control weaknesses. “It is instructive to note that management responses issued with the report  and measures taken over the past two years, since the audit was completed, have been ignored in the publications”, the statement noted with concern.

Turning to factual inaccuracies amounting to peddling of falsehood in the Imani statement,  the Controller and Accountant-General said “there were many factual inaccuracies in the statement as some of the comments made do not reflect our business processes and procedures”.

“The conclusions derived from the analysis made by Imani do not portray  the true picture of the management of central GOG payroll managed by CAGD”, the stated pointed out. To the accusation that the Controller was padding the payroll with more ghost names, the Controller   meticulously explained that  the role of the CAGD involves the validation of personnel data submitted  by MDAs against inputs submitted to CAGD for the purse of personnel emoluments. Commenting further the statement said, ”established control measures and continuous improvements in the payroll management such as head counts, biometric validation, suspension of salaries and monthly validation of payroll through the E-SPV system are regularly employed to deal with such issues”, the statement emphasized.

The Controller and Accountant-General rejected the suggestion by the President of IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe, that  the CAGD ‘refused to allow technology; transparent technology to fix the mess’ stating clearly that “CAGD over the years has consistently upgraded  the technology/ systems used to run the payroll. We moved from a manual system to the VSE payroll software , later to the SIGAGIP system using the integrated payroll database.

Further review of the payroll system led to the replacement of SIGAGIP with an Oracle HRMIS(IPPD2)”. Emphasizing that “IPPD3 was developed as a backup system to the IPPD2”.  The Controller  explained that the Department has adopted some of the latest technologies including “electronic pay slips, electronic payment vouchers, and third party referencing system”, and that these systems have constantly been upgraded to their latest versions.

The Controller categorically denied any direct involvement in National Service Secretariat processing and payment of allowances for service personnel as peddled by IMANI and Occupy Ghana. “The National Service Secretariat like any other  subvented  agency is self accounting and manages its own payroll.” the statement said.

In reply to the rather false IMANI/Occupy Ghana accusation  that ‘some ministries and CAGD have disregarded  the publicly declared moratorium on employment by the Ministry of Finance’, the statement pointed out that “the Controller and Accountant General’s Department does not make recruitment for and on behalf of any MDA. By the Financial Administration Regulation, MDAs make their own recruitment based on established ceilings issued by the Public Services Commission and the Head of the Civil Service”.

With regards to IMANI’s recommendations that ‘ Ghana should hand over  the entire public payroll to IT specialist such as SOFT Tribe’,  the Controller emphasized that “it is worth noting that SOFT Tribe is already involved in the management of the payroll and is equally confronted with  the same challenges of the payroll management”, some of which included fraudulent promotion dates, false recruitment dates, wrong and zero bank accounts, staff without SSF  numbers among others. The statement concluded that “the major challenge with payroll management is at the personnel processing stage. Outsourcing therefore would be a limited and doubtful solution that may come with its own challenges including security and higher management costs.

In conclusion the Controller and Accountant-General corrected the erroneous impression created by IMANI that nearly US$80million has been wasted on GIFMIS by enumerating the enormous benefits of GIFMIS including the following:

**Efficient budget preparation, execution, monitoring, control, accounting and reporting

facilitated the adoption of the IPSAS
**Facilitated the development and implementation of a GFS/COFOG

**IPPD payroll has been upgraded and integrated with  the GIMIF financials to ensure budgetary controls, payroll cost among others

**Interface with the Bank of Ghana has been achieved and EFT and electronic cheques are being used for third party and internal payments respectively

**Monthly  and annual financial reports are being generated in real time from the system

**As part of TSA implementation significant savings in bank charges and interest on overdrawn positions are being made.

Is it not surprising that an institution such as IMANI which brags and prides itself as a leading globally recognized think tank and Occupy Ghana which boasts that it is made up of some of the finest professionals and intellectuals in the country today  could not undertake the most menial due diligence on the issues it sought to raise in the public domain and has so badly  exposed itself  to public ridicule?

It is clear from the above  that Franklin Cudjoe, his Imani and Occupy Ghana certainly do not have a clear understanding of the issues at stake involving Ghana’s payroll administration and the huge strides that have been made by the Government in its efforts to clean, and  validate the payroll and save the country  the waste that has inflicted so much pain on the tax payer over many  years now.  

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