The 2020 Auditor General report released in June of this year, revealed that some 63 persons under various institutions of the Ministry of Education have been paid an unearned salary of GH¢601,282.10. The institutions included the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Library Authority, M/J JHS, and Non-Formal Education Division.
The offices of the culprit institutions, according to a news report monitored by Ghana Talks Business are located in seven regions of the country namely, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Eastern, Oti, Ahafo, Bono, and Upper East.
Below is a table that shows the disbursement of funds.
History of ghost names
The history of paying ghost names in the public sector is nothing new. In early 2020, it was reported that the government lost about GH¢564.2 million to payroll fraud.
In 2001, 10,000 ghost names were expunged from the Ghana Education Service (GES) payroll after the Ministry of Education set up a task force to rid a targeted 30,000 ghost names from the institution.
In 2009, it was reported by the Auditor General that Ghana lost over GH¢2 billion representing 90.3% of financial malfeasance, to ghost names on the payroll of the country’s foreign missions alone.
In 2014, 3,179 ghost names had to be expunged from the payroll of public institutions
In 2016, the Finance Minister at the time, Seth Terkper revealed that over GH¢100 million was saved after 6,000 ghost names were cleared from the government’s payroll in 2012
What government is doing about ghost names
With Ghana losing millions to payroll fraud each year, the impact of these actions cannot be oversimplified. These are funds that can be redirected to boost Ghana’s economy. To create jobs, improve social infrastructure, and ensure basic social amenities get to deprived communities.
Speaking at the launch of the Mobile Technology for Development Conference organized by the Ghana Telecommunications Chamber, the Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, indicated that ghost names on government payroll will soon become a thing of the past. Due to linking the public sector payroll to the National Identification Card system.
“We are also linking the National ID card with the database at the Controller and Accountant General Department. This is where the government payment roll is done; you know that for many many years we have been struggling with this problem of ghost workers on government payroll. Now, this linkage should be completed in the next few months with the payroll of the national ID card”, he disclosed.
“And once that is completed the problem of ghost workers on government payroll which has bedevilled our public financial system for many many years will become history. That problem will no longer exist because every government worker will have a unique set of fingerprints and ghosts [nonexistent or dead people] will not have any fingerprints. So this is a major point that we are looking at,” he further disclosed.