The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) have disclosed that they saved Ghana a significant sum of GH¢34,249,737.6 for the 2024 financial year.

In a report released on May 20, 2024, in November 2023, after several weeks of consultation and engagement, the OSP and CAGD jointly commenced a corruption risk assessment and investigation into suspected corruption and corruption-related offenses in respect of the government Payroll Administration.

According to them, the assessment and investigation are especially aimed at isolating and removing the names of nonexistent, ineligible, and undeserving persons from the government payroll.

They also embarked on recovering wrongful payments and unearned salaries, prosecuting persons suspected to be culpable for any offenses, and the institution and implementation of internal controls in respect of payroll processing and payment of salaries.

The investigation was initiated after the OSP blocked some “ghost names” in January 2024, leading to the tracing of an amount of GH¢2,854,144.80.

In Phase 1, Volume 1 of the investigative report by the OSP and CAGD, dated Monday, May 20, the OSP stated that the unearned salaries amount would have gone unnoticed if not for their collaborative investigation and evaluation.

“The blockade of the amount of Two Million Eight Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand One Hundred and Forty-Four cedis Eighty pesewas (GHC2,854,144.80) and the removal from Government Payroll of the corresponding deceased, retired, post vacators, the missing, and those whose whereabouts are unknown has saved the Republic an amount of Thirty-Four Million Two Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty Seven cedis Six pesewas (GHC34,249,737.6) for the 2024 financial year, and future savings of that amount (in addition to future periodic upward pay adjustments) for every year that the unearned-salaries-amount would have remained undetected but for the joint investigation and assessment by the OSP and CAGD of Government Payroll in the Northern Region (covering educational institutions under Ghana Education Service and Tamale Teaching Hospital).”

The OSP found that the payroll system in the Northern Region, encompassing educational institutions under GES and the Tamale Teaching Hospital, is managed by a surprising number of unauthorized and inactive validators.

“The OSP and CAGD observed that the payroll system in the Northern Region (covering educational institutions under Ghana Education Service and the Tamale Teaching Hospital) is attended to by an alarming number of unauthorized and inactive validators. Indeed, most of the management units were found to be validating persons through the use of unauthorized and inactive validators’ credentials.

“That is to say, the credentials of deceased and retired validators were being actively used in the validation process. Then again, transferred validators were purporting to engage in validation with their inactive previous credentials. It was also observed that transferred and released staff were being validated by their previous management units, creating the clear danger of unattested active or continuous engagement by the respective institutions.”

Source: Ghana/