The Auditor-General’s Department has hinted of plans of recovering all unearned salaries received by some public sector employees as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is contained in the country.
This was captured in the Auditor-General’s report on the nationwide payroll and personnel verification audit as of June 2018 that has been presented to Parliament in accordance with Sections 13(e) and 16 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584).
The report notes GH¢ 564,234,442.74 as being unearned salaries to be recovered and paid into the Consolidated Fund.
“Out of the amount, total unearned salaries relating to unaccounted-for employees of GH¢467,634,792.00 was the highest followed by payments to discontinued employees totalling GH¢87,560,632.53.”
The report which is a payroll audit of all employees of public sector organizations including Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) showed that, during the validation exercise, 522,478 supposed active employees received salaries for the period under review.
But the nationwide payroll exercise which was to confirm their physical existence revealed that payments for employees totalling 12,563 were unaccounted for.
“We noted during our validation exercise that 522,478 supposed active employees received salaries for the period under review. To confirm their physical existence, we carried out a nation-wide payroll exercise. The outcome of the exercise revealed unaccounted-for employees totaling 12,563.”
“Though we have the intention to disallow the continuous existence of the 7,823 employees who could not be accounted for on the payroll, we have delayed exercising this mandate owing to the unusual times in which we are, following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic. We plan to exercise this mandate and ensure the recovery of GH¢467,634,792 unearned salaries immediately after the spread of the Coronavirus is contained”, the Auditor-General said in its report.
The MDA with the largest unaccounted for employees was the Ministry of Education followed by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development including the Local Government Service.
The heads of the MDAs/MMDAs additionally provided evidence to confirm the authenticity of the employment of 1,195 who were not present for the enumeration exercise.
Based on responses from respective heads of MDAs and MMDAs, the report noted that 3,518 out of the total unaccounted-for employees could not attend the enumeration exercise due to various reasons by their respective heads.
The heads of MDAs/MMDAs could however not vouch for the authenticity of the remaining 7,823 supposed active employees.
The Auditor-General has however advised the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) and the Chief Directors of the affected MDAs and MMDAs to ensure that the practice of the unearned salaries is addressed.
“Meanwhile, CAGD, as well as the Heads of MDAs or MMDAs, should take the necessary steps to improve their control systems and minimize a recurrence”, the report added.