The significant financial losses caused by fraud in the public sector continue to beat the imagination of many well-meaning Ghanaians.

It is not just the one-off incidents of financial losses that we should be concerned about, but the increasing regularity of fraud and also changes in the origins and nature of fraud.

Financial losses to the state through fraud come in various forms. One of them is the public payroll system.

Through the establishment of government anti-corruption agencies and their heightened profile and activity, there appears to be greater awareness of economic crime in the public sector. However, embezzlement of public funds remains a very real threat, with a number of institutions falling victim to this over the years.

It is now time to take action to prevent, detect and fight fraud so as to be able to protect the public purse. Every person in the country must be seen to be working hard to earn a decent income.

Fraudulent acts aimed at duping the state of millions of cedis that could have otherwise been used for socio-economic development of the state ought to be discouraged.

Government payroll has remained bloated over the years, implying that substantial sums of money go down the drain into the pockets of certain individuals.

The time has now come to wage a war on this fraudulent activity. Thorough investigation is required to trace the network of people involved in this detestable act.

Thus, the objective of the clean-up of the public service payroll is to remove fictitious names from government payroll in a bid to protect the public purse.

However, our teachers must be listened to since SSNIT personnel could not make themselves available everywhere in the country, especially the villages, for the biometric registration of teachers.

The purpose of the exercise, i.e. protecting the public purse, is good but teachers in particular deserve special attention. They must be given a final deadline for their biometric registration with SSNIT.

Protection of the public purse is very necessary to conserve limited financial resources needed to address the numerous economic challenges facing the country.

This explains why the clean-up of the public service payroll ought to be carried out carefully and also in a vigorous manner not only today but from time to time.

The exercise is good because it is likely to save the country about GH¢35 million in payroll cost on a monthly basis. For the whole of 2017 alone, the exercise will save the nation a total of over GH¢250 million.

This shows that huge sums of money being thrown into the drain for no work done can be blocked and judiciously utilised to promote the welfare of the people.

The Times is of the view that in the name of fairness the authorities concerned should tread cautiously. We think that the exercise must continue unabated in the interest of national development. No one should be permitted to dupe the state for no work done.

The growth and development of the country depend on all of us and this explains why anyone with useful information on those involved in these fraudulent acts must find it necessary and also be patriotic enough to volunteer such information to the relevant quarters.

In doing this, we will all be helping the country to move forward.

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