Nationwide public payroll monitoring begins in April

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) is set to embark on a nationwide payroll monitoring exercise.

The exercise, which is scheduled to commence from April 1, 2023, aims to sanitize the public sector payroll by identifying and expunging existing fraud and anomalies on it.

“It is also aimed at ensuring that only approved Salaries and Allowances are paid,” the commission stated in a circular.

According to the commission, all boards/councils and heads of public sector institutions are, therefore, being entreated to conduct their own payroll audit and clean-up ahead of the national payroll monitoring exercise.

The exercise must cover basic salaries and all types of allowances and benefits, the commission instructed.

The commission further urged banks and individuals in receipt of fraudulent salaries and allowances to take steps to refund same and cease from further “fraudulent practices or face the full rigors of the law.”

GH¢8m lost in payroll irregularities

According to the 2021 Auditor-General’s report on public accounts, the country lost a total of GH¢8,24 million in the year 2021, due to payroll irregularities related to public boards, corporations, and other statutory institutions.

One major cause of such irregularities, the report cited, was  management’s failure in exercising due diligence in supervising officers in charge of payroll validation and reviewing payment vouchers to ensure salaries were paid to only those who were entitled.

The report also cited that management of these public institutions failed to notify banks to stop payment of unearned salaries. The Controller and Accountant-General’s Department also did not promptly delete names of separated staff when notified to do so.

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation was responsible for over GH¢2.9 million of the total amount lost to payroll irregularities.

“Contained in the total irregularity of GH¢8,243,954 is an amount of GH¢2,992,444 attributed to Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in respect of avoidable pending judgment debt due to the termination of appointment of a former Director-General, judgment debt for the failure to pay long service award to employees, payment of unearned salaries and the late payment of 1st and 2nd tier pension contributions,” part of the report reads.

It is noteworthy that in 2020, the Auditor-General’s report revealed that the country lost over GH¢9.5 million to payroll irregularities