Ghana lost GHC892 million in the year 2017 due to financial irregularities in the operations of various Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

This was contained in the 2017 audit report released by the Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo.

The irregularities as contained in the audit report amounted to GHC892,396,375.19.

In the report, the irregularities were categorized under six broad categories namely; Tax Irregularities, Cash Irregularities, Stores/Procurement Irregularities, Outstanding debts/loans, Payroll Irregularities and Rent payment Irregularities.

“The irregularities represent either losses that had been incurred by the State through the impropriety or lack of probity in the actions and decisions of public officers or on the other hand, the savings that could have been made, if public officials and institutions had duly observed the public financial management framework put in place to guide their conduct and also safeguard national assets and resources”, the Auditor General said.

Tax irregularities amounting to GHC655.6million represents 73% of the losses recorded in 2017. Meanwhile, the Auditor General is collaborating with the Special Prosecutor to conduct audit on the payroll.

Mr Domelevo said he had the mandate under section 16 of the Audit Service Act to undertake special audits of which one of them was the liabilities, which they did early this year and issued a report.

“They put people on the payroll; so that they get the money and share. We are also very much aware that some of the people on the payroll is due to administrative lapses. But be it as it may, the financial administration regulation requires that the head of any management unit (schools, hospitals) has a duty to ensure that it is only people who are working for them in their entities are on their payrolls.”

“In the cause of this exercise, if we should find ghost names or names of people who should not be on the payroll, I will activate my constitutional mandate under Article 187 Clause 7 to disallow the expenditure and on whoever’s payroll we find the ghost names, we will surcharge the person.”

“So I will disallow and surcharge the headmaster, the head of the hospital or any government department, where we find ghost names on your payroll. “If you think you name has been inserted on the payroll wrongly, you have to run and purge yourself quickly by refunding that money to government, before we reach out to you. Because once we come, we are not going to spend our time looking for the ghost. If the ghost is on your payroll, we are going to hold you accountable. You will pay the money back. If possible you are prosecuted.”