INVESTIGATIONS by the Auditor-General’s Department has revealed that some pensioners who died are still being paid by the government.
In 2012, the department found out from the government’s pensioners’ payroll that an amount of GH¢31,808 had been paid to seven deceased pensioners at the Atiwa District Finance Office alone.
The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament took up the issue yesterday, and invited the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, to offer some explanation on the issue, as well as other related infractions in the management of public funds.
It also came to light that the government had paid 27 months unearned salaries to dead workers, and failed to recover vehicle loans from public officers who had retired.
The Finance Minister, who led a team from the ministry, including his deputy, Mrs. Mona Quartey, admitted the infraction and indicated that the situation was due to delays by the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department in deleting the names of deceased pensioners from the payroll.
The team assured the committee, chaired by the Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, that they would take the necessary actions to ensure that the names of dead workers were deleted from the payroll.
It also came to light that the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, without appropriate authorisation, advanced a total amount of GH¢800,000 to the Ministry of Finance to allegedly enable the ministry to carry out critical and urgent assignments.
The decision, according to the Auditor General, was contrary to Regulation 106 of the Financial Administration Regulations (FAR).
“We did not see any documentary evidence of the ministry’s request for the advance. We could, therefore, not ascertain the conditions under which the advance was granted and the repayment plan,” the Auditor General stated in its 2013 audit report.
Although the Finance Minister and his team claimed the money had been recovered to the Controller and Accountant General, the law makers were not happy with the development and urged the minister to ensure proper authorisation and documentation before monies were released for any purpose.
They said the transaction was contrary to Regulation 60 of the Financial Administration Act and indicated that anyone engaged in such a transaction needed to be punished accordingly.
It also came to light at the committee’s deliberations that police administration failed to transfer revenue from gun licences into the Consolidated Fund.
According to the Auditor General, the police administration had lodged the money into a GCB account at the bank’s head office on the Accra High Street.
The law makers entreated the finance minister to ensure that the monies had been properly transferred to government’s chest.
They said the Financial Administration Act indicated that any person required to perform any function or duty who fail to perform the action was in breach of the regulation.
They said the Act further required heads of the various departments and agencies to reprimand, suspend, demote or interdict such offenders and added that failure to take action against such officers were even in breach of the law.
They entreated the Finance Minister to monitor workers under his outfit closely and firmly punish anyone who breached the law because the state was losing lots of monies through their negligence and deliberate actions and inactions.
By Yaw Kyei