Business News of Sun, 29 Jul 20186

Audit Service surprised by rate of fraud in the public service

The ongoing National Payroll and Personnel Validation Audit Exercise has revealed a worrying trend of widespread use of fake certificates and promotional letters by some public workers to receive salaries.

Mr George Winful, Deputy Auditor General and Team Leader of the enumeration exercise, who made the revelation at a press conference in Cape Coast on Friday expressed dismay about the practice.

Subsequently, Heads of Institutions and Agencies have been urged to be meticulous in their recruitment of employees into the public service and also show interest in their human resource records of high-risk officers in their respective institutions.

“Apart from just enumerating, we are also interested in knowing the authenticity of the documents that are presented before us. Some of them are becoming a worrying trend, if the signals that we are beginning to see is something which is real, then head of institutions must be meticulous in the review of their employees” Mr Winful said. “We have had instances where some people have used other people’s certificates for employment. You can imagine if such a person is in the classroom, then possibly that could be the reason for the poor results in the secondary schools” he said.

Mr Winful said information received from whistleblowers showed that some other institutions which were not part of the enumeration exercise, were engaging in a similar practice.

“We have come across situations where some people are trying to take salaries in positions they have not reached because they falsified this or that” he said.

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Mr Winful said his outfit has received information from people about instances of fake certificates in some public institutions and said they would be investigated and those found culpable would be punished accordingly. He said there have been instances where people brought photocopy and email promotion letters but indicated that such were some of the high risk issues that could compromise the system.

Henceforth, he said only original copies of promotional letters would be accepted for the exercise to ensure that the information provided were genuine.

He said in situations where people submitted photocopies, their institutions must be able to provide a comprehensive list of promoters with proper letterheads to confirm the authenticity of the information provided.

Mr Winful lauded the decision of the Controller and Accountant General to sanction heads who exceeded their personal compensation budget adding that,” all these anomalies leads to the ballooning of the wage bill of respective institutions which probably leads to budget overrun”

He warned heads of institutions to desist from selling vacant positions to persons who did not have the required certificates to be in that position adding that, whoever gets on the government payroll needs to go through the due process of engagement.

The Ghana Audit Service and the Controller and Accountant – Generals Department kicked started the National Payroll and Personnel Validation Audit exercise on Tuesday, July 17 in the Central Region with the aim of cleaning the bloated payroll.

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