A report on Liabilities from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) has revealed that at least GH¢5.4 billion has been misappropriated through disallowances and surcharges.
Following these findings, Deputy Auditor-General George Winful told Joy FM’s Daniel Dadzie that he has partnered with Martin Amidu, Ghana’s first special prosecutor, to ensure that those committing fraud are bought to justice.
“The special prosecutor has come in to help us deal with this. He is seriously on board,” Winful said on the Super Morning Show, Wednesday.
He said that his team has found that in some instances, employees at MDAs have superimposed names and used them to earn higher salaries – a direct violation of employee payroll laws. He has since – along with Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo – launched a comprehensive audit to stitch any loopholes in Ghana’s payroll system.
The audit stems from Central Medical Stores, a medical supplier that was burned down in 2015 after allegations that its employees were engaging in fraudulent behaviour. The arson cost the country nearly GH¢350 million.
Since then, Domelevo has initiated a three-month forensic audit on the case, but “the pace of the audit had been slower than anticipated, resulting in a change in the schedule,” according to a report from Joy FM’s Raymond Acquah.
Following that investigation, the A-G released a report on Liabilities of MDAs in 2016. The report outlines that the Ministry of Finance gave the Audit Service GH¢5.4 billion, which the A-G rejected. Those funds were to be used as government liabilities that included disallowances from the absence of relevant documents, goods not supplied and claims already paid for, among other leakages.
Two weeks ago, Joy News reported on Corruption Watch that Joshob Construction Co. Ltd. won an appeal against the Auditor at an Accra High Court following charges that employees were denied payment for work done because of disallowances. The court ruled that government failed to pay Joshob over GH¢11.7 million.
The report also revealed that the Finance Ministry recorded the highest irregularities for 2017, which amounted to GH¢697 million. A review of MDAs’ public accounts showed that the irregularities cost the county GH¢892 million.
The Auditor-General’s Department, the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Ministry of Finance, through the support of the World Bank, are collaborating to audit the payroll of the entire public service.
‘Those not entitled to earn but are earning on the payroll will be handed over to the Special Prosecutor for prosecution. Domelevo told the Daily Graphic. “If you think your name has been inserted on the payroll wrongly, you have to run and purge yourself by quickly refunding that money to the government.”
Meanwhile, the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) wrote in a Project Inspections Report last year that some projects funded with oil money did not exist. The data showed that at least some GH¢99,000 of oil cash was purportedly pumped into three “ghost projects” in the Upper West and Northern regions.
Chairman of PIAC, Steve Manteaw, has indicated that PIAC is compiling a list of “ghost projects,” and would need the support of the A-G for further investigations.