The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) has directed the Ghana Education Service (GES) to delete the names of 610 members of its staff from the government payroll. The staff, mostly teachers, who were found to have vacated their post, resigned, are non-existent, deceased, been dismissed or cannot be traced or located, are still receiving salaries. The directive followed ongoing physical verification of persons who are receiving salaries without bank accounts.
Some district directors of education are currently being interrogated by the BNI for complicity in validating the names for payment by the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD). A highly placed source at the BNI told the Daily Graphic that the physical verification by the institution followed a request made by the Ministry of Finance for the BNI to investigate 2,690 names found on the government payroll that were suspected to be fraudulent.
It explained that the names were detected after the CAGD initiated steps not to pay any government employee without bank account. Of the 2,690 names, the source said, 1,078 were found to be GES employees, while the remainde belonged to other agencies such as the Judicial Service, the Ministry of Health and the Regional Co-ordinating councils.
The source said out of the 1,078, identified on the GES list, it was detected that 122 had vacated their post, 492 were present and working, 17 could not be traced, 48 were deceased, 64 were teacher trainees who were alleged to have been posted and receiving salaries and yet their stations could not be verified.
The rest, the source explained, were 180 personnel who were non-existent, 43 not at post, 21 retired, 36 dismissed, seven who had stopped work, two who were sick and one who had been withdrawn.
The source said beyond the official GES investigations, there was also a request for the BNI to audit 33 and 12 other names, respectively, in the Ajumako and Wenchi district educational directorates. It said 12 of the teachers at Ajumako were found to have retired, two were non-existent, 12 had vacated their post, three were on study leave, one was deceased, while three were found to be at post.
It said, three were found to have been dismissed for possessing fake certificates and nine on the payment vouchers of two schools. The source said the BNI had started interrogating some heads of schools and district directors of education for validating the payment vouchers of the ghost employees.
It said the total amount of wrongful payment would be determined after the BNI had submitted its report to the CAGD to determine how long the government had been paying such ‘employees’ prior to the introduction of bank accounts and the validation of PVs.
The source explained that the BNI had to expand the investigations throughout the country after the initial investigations pointed to something widespread. Other cases The source said its investigations on the remaining list covering other government agencies indicated that 629 were at post, 26 people had vacated their post, nine could not be traced, there were 114 nurse trainees who had been posted but their exact location could not be traced, 32 were deceased, 42 were non-existent, 21 were not at post, five had resigned, four had been sacked, two were on study leave and 81 had retired. It assured the country that the investigations would be extended to the other agencies as soon as work was completed on that of the GES.
It said it had become necessary to look into all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) because the state could save millions of cedis from the physical audit of staff on the government payroll.