Deputy Auditor-General Mr George Winful says the Audit Service is highly determined to generate credible Payroll information that is robust and free from error and corruption to place Ghana in its rightful position.
“We want to put ourselves in a way our country takes its rightful position, the Audit Service is poised to clean the payroll of ghosts…so that they do not resurrect,” he told public sector workers on Tuesday in the Upper West Regional Capital, Wa.
The meeting marked the commencement of payroll and personnel verification audit exercise in Upper West and provided a platform for an Audit Service team carrying out the exercise to brief public service workers about the on-going audit.
Personnel in the public service taking their salaries from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) were urged to avail themselves for the nationwide exercise since those who would not be account for could face sanctions.
Mr Winful also implored employees to come out in their numbers to support the enumeration exercise to succeed in order to free space in the payroll to allow the teaming jobless youth to be also fixed in the public sector.
“If you have unemployed youth in your house, then you have to take this exercise seriously, what we are doing is going to get us value for money, it will likely free some space for those unemployed youth to also get the opportunity to work in the public sector,” he said.
“Ghana belongs to all of us and we have to develop it. But if we are cheating how do we develop it,” he added: similar exercises have already been carried out in Central, Volta, Eastern and Western regions.
He said what the audit team found in those regions motivated them to continue in the rest of the regions to clean up the country’s payroll one-time, but noted: “it is possible after we have finished in December there will be ghosts in January and we will clean again”.
Mr Winful warned that those who would be unaccounted for would have their names deleted by the CAGD, which was likely to trigger a legal tussle before any genuine worker could be reinstated.
He also said Heads of Departments could be surcharged by the Auditor-General based on evidence of irregularities that will emerge, adding: “This is what we want to prevent”.
“We are exploring all possible means to ensure that everybody is accounted for,” he said.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Alhassan Sulemana, commended the Auditor-General for being instrumental in the discharge of its constitutional mandate and making strides towards ensuring the public purse was protected.
Public servants in the Region had long awaited the exercise, he said, and were glad it was their turn to prove the validity of their employment.
The goal of the exercise is to clean up the public payroll and rid it of ghost names. It would also verify the current employment status of employees and establish on-going compliance for accounting and record keeping.
Public servants were enjoined to cooperate with the audit team since the success of the exercise would save the state some resources for development.
“This would inure to the benefit of all Ghanaians and not just the Auditor General,” Alhaji Sulemana said.
Personnel are to visit the Upper Regional Coordinating Council, the Regional Hospital, Wa Technical Senior High School, Wa Municipal Education Service, and the Regional Health Directorate for the exercise.
It would also take place in the premises of all municipal and district assemblies except Nadowli-Kaleo District where personnel are expected to go the World Vision hall for the enumeration.
The Audit team has also created mobile centres for vulnerable groups like special schools.
Workers were told they could walk to any centre with their relevant documents to partake in the exercise irrespective of the district or location they found themselves.
The regional exercise started on Tuesday in the Wa Municipality with the Deputy Regional Minister opening the validation. The rest of the Districts in the Region commence on Wednesday.