Blame Human ‘Vultures’ For Ghost Names Not Controller – Former Minister

A former Deputy Minister for Finance under the Kufuor administration, Professor Gyan Baffour has come to the defense of the Controller and Accountant General over the ghost names in the public payroll system. He said that some public sector workers are like “vultures” extracting money from government through dubious means. According to him, due to the perception and sometimes, the glaring evidence that government officials are enriching themselves, public sector workers are also acquiring wealth through any means possible. This, he said has largely contributed to the existence of ghost names in the government payroll. “The whole country, everybody is trying to make money from wherever he is. They are like vultures taking money from government so that is exactly what is happening,” he said on Eyewitness News. He observed that in Ghana, “if people think that you people in highest authorities are making money out of where you are, they are not afraid of you because they know you are also at fault.” The Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) has denied the existence of ghost names on the government payroll. It has also denied conniving with the heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to put names of non-existent workers on the government payroll to enrich themselves. An official from the Accountant General’s Department in an interview with Citi News said the heads of the various MDAs must be held accountable for the ghost names because they generate the list for onward submission to the department for the subsequent payment of salaries. The former Deputy Finance Minister strongly defended the Controller and Accountant General saying, “the real job of the Controller is not to clamp down on anybody. The real job of the Controller is to pay the people who are in the various offices claim they are workers.” He said the MDAs generate the data for the Controller so “the Controller is a just a clearing house. When they [MDAs] bring it there and it passes through the IPPD, it will come out with all those names that are not known to the government.” He argued that the problem is not necessarily from the Controller or the IPPD system “but it is of those people who are in the various departments and agencies of government who know very well that there are certain people who shouldn’t be on the payroll yet, they bring in inputs from their departments to the Controller.” According to him, the Controller is currently powerless because “it is a problem from all over the country so unless you can check all these people, the Controller is a bit powerless…The real problem lies with these people who sit in those departments and agencies of government who think that they also have to make money out of what they are doing there.” “The additional job that they are doing by going out there to use the biometric and other things are secondary and therefore those people who are actually sending the list to them should be the ones who should be the culprits of these things and not the Controller,” he added. Prof. Baffour nonetheless acknowledged that there are some miscreants at the CAGD working with the MDAs to defraud the nation. “The Controller’s job is purely like a post office the thing passes through…so yes, they are trying to do the biometric to detect the errors in them and of course there are certain individuals who will be conniving with the MDAs,” he said. He also conceded that the problem can only be solved if the CAGD collaborates with the MDAs to rid the government payroll of ghost names. He also advised that when some workers and heads of MDAs are found to be engaged in this practice, they should be dismissed, arrested, prosecuted and not transferred to work elsewhere.