Auditor-General and Special Prosecutor to collaborate on Payroll Audit

By Iddi Yire, GNA  

Accra, July 11, GNA – The Ghana Audit Service
in collaboration with the Office of the Special Prosecutor, would from July 17,
conduct a nationwide special audit, as part efforts to eliminate ghost names
from the government’s payroll.

The maiden payroll enumeration exercise by the
Ghana Audit Service, which would begin from the Central Region on July 17, is
in line with the broader Public Financial Management Reform (PFMR).

Its objective is to promote fiscal discipline,
strategic allocation of resources and efficient service delivery.

Under the special audit project, anyone found
culpable, would be immediately forwarded to the Office of the Special
Prosecutor for subsequent prosecution in the court of law.

This came to light at a joint press briefing
on Wednesday by Mr Daniel Domelevo, Auditor-General (AG) and Mr Martin Amidu,
Special Prosecutor in Accra.

Mr Domelevo said he had the mandate under
section 16 of the Audit Service Act to undertake special audits of which one of
them was the liabilities, which they did early this year and issued a report.

He said the Service was now going to focus on
the payroll because they thought the government payroll bill was becoming too
big and that there were increased allegations from the findings of some of
their audit reports of people using the payrolls as a means of enhancing or for
their personal economic recovery programmes.

“They put people on the payroll; so that they
get the money and share. We are also very much aware that some of the people on
the payroll is due to administrative lapses. But be it as it may, the financial
administration regulation requires that the head of any management unit
(schools, hospitals) has a duty to ensure that it is only people who are
working for them in their entities are on their payrolls.”

“In the cause of this exercise, if we should
find ghost names or names of people who should not be on the payroll, I will
activate my constitutional mandate under Article 187 Clause 7 to disallow the
expenditure and on whoever’s payroll we find the ghost names, we will surcharge
the person.”

“So I will disallow and surcharge the
headmaster, the head of the hospital or any government department, where we
find ghost names on your payroll.

He said to ensure that they finished the
process well, the Audit Service was collaborating with the office of the
Special Prosecutor; and all those people who would be found to be on the
payroll fraudulently, would be handed over to the Special Prosecutor for him to
do his prosecution.

“If you think you name has been inserted on
the payroll wrongly, you have to run and purge yourself quickly by refunding
that money to government, before we reach out to you. Because once we come, we
are not going to spend our time looking for the ghost. If the ghost is on your
payroll, we are going to hold you accountable. You will pay the money back. If
possible you are prosecuted.”

On his part, Mr Amidu said his outfit would
continue to support the Auditor-General in discharge of his mandate to make
sure that the public purse was protected; so that there would be enough
resources for national development.

He said the Office of the Special Prosecutor
was designed to prevent, investigate, prosecute, recover and manage assets of
proceeds of corruption and corruption related cases.

He said the AG’s office and his outfit had
decided to collaborate and pull resources together; in order to achieve their
respective mandates.

He said while the AG was doing his work during
the payroll audit, when he finds any wrong doing, he would signal the Office of
the Special Prosecutor to move in and conduct further investigations.

He said by the time the exercise would be
over, they would have dealt with perpetrators and their collaborators.

“We are trying to depart from the former
procedures, where the AG submits a report to Parliament; it is discussed and
people think that once Parliament has discussed it, there would be no
prosecution.”

He said that by the time the AG’s report was
ready for submission to Parliament, the dockets on such cases would be ready
for prosecution.

Mr George Winful, a Deputy Auditor-General,
said there were about 600,000 workers on government payroll; adding that data
was directing their activities.

Dr Mohammed Sani Abdulai, Coordinator, PFMR
Project, Ministry of Finance, said the exercise was being carried out by the
Audit Service with support from the Ghana Integrated Financial Management
Information System (GIFMIS) under the auspices of the World Bank.

GNA

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