General News of Saturday, 17 January 2015
The President of policy Think Tank, IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe has called for the closure of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CADG) for better efficiency in the management of the public payroll system.
IMANI Ghana had earlier charged government to adopt stringent measures to fix the “messy mechanized payroll” system before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme commences.
“If the bailout package is to be successful, it is absolutely imperative that the bloated government wage bill should be arrested and corrected,” a statement from IMANI Ghana stated.
But according to Franklin Cudjoe, the whole department should be “shut down” due to its poor handling of the system and its unacceptable defense against the concerns raised about its work.
“The Controller is supposed to be mindful of our consolidated fund which means you must be mindful [that] whatever you are spending at each point in time must correspond with whatever comes in. This I thought is the basics of accounting. If all you do is to issue cheques and paying because people bring you data then why are we calling you a Controller and Accountants General? What are you controlling?”
The IMANI President also stated that the CADG’s inability to take responsibility for the country’s faulty payroll system is regrettable. He said flaws in the payroll system could have prevented, had warnings from external bodies being heeded.
“Recently, the EU withheld funds of about 12 million; I’ve forgotten if it was euros or dollars, and told government, the finance Minister [at the time] Mr. Duffuor told the Vice President that until it fixes the payroll fraud, it will not be given the money,” he said.
“In September 2014, we had the National Service Secretariat with 22,000 ghost names on the payroll and Controller today says that no, those ghosts are not my responsibility. All I do is issue bulk checks and pay the agencies who submit data to us,” he added.
Mr. Cudjoe also stated that he was disappointed that the Department had not yet efficiently integrated modern technology into their work.
“This whole idea of the fact that they don’t control the input and that technology cannot solve that, because that was in their statement, and that if we know of any technology that can help we should suggest it, is wrong. We were in this country when we started biometric registration. We verified people at the polls. Even though it came with some issues,” he explained.
IMANI had previously named the Controller and Accountant General’s Department as one of the worst performing public sector institutions in 2014.
The Think Tank said in a statement that, “apart from busily padding the ghost payroll with more ghosts, the CAGD had refused to allow technology, transparent technology to fix the mess in the public payroll.”
The CADG criticized IMANI’s assessment of it’s work, arguing that “there were many factual inaccuracies in the statement as some of the comments made do not reflect” the department’s “business processes and procedures.”