The non-existent workers who receive salaries are often referred to as ghost names.

This was in a periodic audit exercise that was conducted in 2018, in accordance with Section 16 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584).

The report revealed that 7,823 ‘ghost’ employees existed in 21 MDAs.

According to the report, the various MDAs include ministries of Education, Finance, Energy, Defence, Communications, Information, Health, the Interior, Railway Development, and Foreign Affairs.

The others are, Local Government and Rural Development, Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Employment and Labour Relations, Food and Agriculture, Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Lands and Natural Resources and Gender, Children and Social Protection, Roads and Highways, Transport, Sanitation, and Water Resources and Justice and Attorney-General.

The Agencies involved in this are the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Electoral Commission, the Judicial Service, and the Local Government Service.

The Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo has therefore indicated that he will surcharge the heads of these MDAs because it was under their leadership the GHC564.2 million loss occurred.

He added that the plans to disallow the existence of the ‘ghost’ employees were put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We plan to exercise this mandate and ensure the recovery of all unearned salaries immediately after the spread of the Covid-19 is contained.”

The audit report also showed that out of 12,536 potential ‘ghost’ workers, the heads of the MDAs had evidence to confirm that 1,195 were at post, while 3,518 were confirmed not at post.

Those confirmed not to be at post were among other things, deceased, on interdiction, leave of absence, had resigned, suspended or had vacated post.

However, the management of the MDAs could not provide any evidence to guarantee the existence of 7,823 of the employees.

The Auditor-General has decided not to enforce any directive due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He, however, said that “We recommend that the CAGD should ensure the termination of the unaccounted for employees on the payroll. The heads of MDAs should also ensure the full recovery of the unearned salaries from the affected persons.”

The CAGD introduced the Electronic Salary Payment Voucher (E-SPV) platform in 2013. This was to ensure that salaries are paid efficiently and to avoid double payments.

However, the report stated that although notifications were sent by some management of the MDAs on the E-SPV platform for payment to some employees to be discontinued, the notifications were ignored by the CAGD.

This led to some 6,307 individuals being paid unearned salaries of ¢87,560,632.53 as of June 2018.

Meanwhile, some employees who were part of the retirement age were still on the payroll because the payroll system had not been properly configured to terminate automatically.

The report indicated that the names of 84 employees who had attained the statutory retirement age and had no contract extension were still on the payroll

It added that the examination of records revealed that about 19,203 academic certificates presented during the enumeration exercise were suspected to be fake.

“A total of 7,407 out of the 19,203 suspicious certificates were confirmed to be genuine and 62 found to be fake.

However, owing to the challenges encountered by the universities in querying our data, they were unable to confirm the outstanding 11,734 certificates.”

The Auditor-General, therefore, recommended that the CAGD configure the payroll system properly and terminate the records of all the discontinued employees on the payroll.

“For efficiency, we also recommend a seamless integration of the E-SPV system with the payroll system, resulting in prompt update of employee records.”

“To prevent multiple payments of salaries, we urge the CAGD to configure the payroll system to prevent payment of salaries to persons who have not been biometrically identified,” it added.

In an interview on Accra-based Joy FM, a Deputy Auditor General, George Swanzy Winful explained that the exercise was carried out to show the seriousness on the part of the government to ensure that the payroll is strengthened.

“There is seriousness in all the stakeholders as far as this one is concerned, therefore, the inception of this exercise including the CADG getting themselves involved to make sure that we got our facts right and all unqualified people taken off the payroll,” he said.