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General News of Friday, 8 May 2015


Mahama: We’ll prosecute fixers of ‘ghost names’ in payroll

President John Mahama has directed that anyone found to have fixed nonexistent [ghost] names in the public payroll be prosecuted.

“Some of the ghosts are real ghosts and occur inadvertently, but there are some of the ghosts who are man-made and they are intentionally resurrected on the payroll,” the President said at the opening of the 2nd national forum on the Single Spine Pay policy in Takoradi on Friday.

“I’ve asked that for the ghosts that are man-made, the human creators of these ghosts, when discovered, should be prosecuted.

“Where persons, who have engaged in impropriety have been found out like in the National Service Scheme, we will ensure prosecution if those people are caught. We expect that organised labour will be a partner in this fight,” Mr Mahama said.

Just Thursday, Starr News intercepted a High court writ in which five staff of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) are facing prosecution for duping the state of almost GH¢1 million through ghost names. They collaborated with eleven others.

The accused persons have been charged for conspiracy to commit crime, namely stealing contrary to section 124 of the Criminal Offence Act 29, 1960.

The five accused persons include; Godwin Komla Amegbe Chief Treasury Officer at the Pensions Computation Unit, Controller and Controller General; Sonny Adinyira, Treasury Officer at the Controller and Accountant General’s Department attached to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and Richard Osei Asamoah, Head of Data Entry Technical Team of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department attached to the Pensions Computation Unit of the Ghana Police Service.

The rest are Daniel Adu Twum, who works at the Internal Auditor at the Pensions Unit of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department and Kwasi Alomenu External Auditor attached to the pensions unit of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.

Investigations revealed that the accused persons got people to open accounts with some specific banks to deposit monies into them, which they would later withdraw.

The account, according to investigations, was for pension benefits of supposed retirees and deceased persons.

Investigations revealed that various sums of monies were deposited into the bank accounts of purported retirees and deceased persons. The monies which amount to 1 million Ghana cedis were later withdrawn by other members of the syndicate and shared amongst themselves.

Ghost names have plagued Ghana’s public sector wage bill for years. The International Monetary Fund, recently said it was helping the country to fix the problem, as part of efforts to get the economy back on track. Fixing the ghost names problem was an integral conditionality with the $918 million bailout package the IMF gave Ghana.

In March 2013, about 1.3 percent of Ghana’s GDP, translating into over GHc1bn, was paid to nonexistent public sector employees, according to analysis done by Dr Joe Abbey, Executive Director of economic think tank Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA).

Dr Abbey said an average of GHc100m was paid to ghost employees every month in 2012. He told XYZ News in an interview that the centre made the estimates following a careful study and analysis of the 2013 budget presented to Parliament on Tuesday March 5, 2013.

“The question about ghost or ineligible workers dealt a decisive blow… our estimate was that as much as 1.3 percentage points of our GDP was being lost to these ghost payments and so a billion Cedis was the estimate that we saw, like 100 million a month," Dr Abbey noted.