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Special Prosecutor releases government payroll report amid impeachment row; ‘saves’ Ghana GH¢34m

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has released a report on a collaborative investigation with the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) regarding the Government’s Payroll Administration amidst the recent petition for the impeachment of Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng.

According to the OSP, the investigation resulted in the blocking of salaries and removal of undeserving individuals from the government’s payroll, saving the country over GH¢34.2 million for the 2024 financial year alone.

The released report is part of Phase 1 of the collaborative investigation, focusing on unwarranted salaries for employees of the Ghana Education Service and Ghana Health Service in the Northern Region.

“Out of the sampled high-risk number of 1,265 individuals on the payroll, the joint investigation and assessment cleared 1,020 individuals as regularly validated. The Special Prosecutor promptly unfroze the blocked salaries of the verified individuals upon timely clearance by the joint team, and they have been restored to the payroll system.

“A total amount of Two Million Eight Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand One Hundred and Forty-Four cedis Eighty pesewas (GH¢2,854,144.80) was identified as unearned monthly salaries being paid to deceased, retired, vacated, missing, or unknown individuals (referred to as ‘Ghost Names’) from their respective effective dates to January 2024, when it was blocked by the Special Prosecutor,” excerpts from the report read.

It further stated, “The blocking of the amount of Two Million Eight Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand One Hundred and Forty-Four cedis Eighty pesewas (GH¢2,854,144.80) and the removal from the Government Payroll of the corresponding deceased, retired, post vacators, the missing, and those whose whereabouts are unknown has saved the Republic an amount of Thirty-Four Million Two Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand Seven Hundred and Thirty-Seven cedis Six pesewas (GH¢34,249,737.6) for the 2024 financial year, with potential future savings for every year the unearned salaries would have gone undetected.”

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The report also mentioned that the OSP and CAGD are pursuing legal actions against individuals involved in promoting individuals to non-existent schools, validating payments to deceased, untraceable, and retired individuals, and those who have vacated their positions.

It noted that efforts are being made to recover unearned salaries paid in respect of deceased, untraceable, retired and vacated individuals.

“The OSP and CAGD are implementing internal control measures to reduce the occurrence of processing and paying unearned salaries. The investigation will expand to the remaining fifteen regions in Phase I of the operation,” the report concluded.

About the ongoing impeachment process against the Special Prosecutor:

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo forwarded a petition for the removal of Kissi Agyebeng as Special Prosecutor to the Chief Justice.

The petition, dated April 30, 2024, was presented to the president by the former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, and was relayed to Justice Gertrude Torkornoo on May 6, 2024.

Amidu was reported to have cited procurement irregularities in the acquisition of vehicles for the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and alleged misconduct involving judges and the administration of justice.

Additional accusations encompass the infringement of citizens’ rights through arrests and detentions, breaches of the right to information, and the inappropriate appointment of staff to the office.

In accordance with Article 146 of the Constitution, the Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, is currently assessing whether there is sufficient initial evidence to constitute a committee for Agyebeng’s potential impeachment.

She has reportedly asked the Special Prosecutor to respond to the issues raised in the petition.

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Source: Ghanaweb

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