148,000 employees’ biometric data did not match Ghana Card – Bawumia

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Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia

An audit exercise conducted by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) on public sector payroll has revealed that 148,060 employees’ biometric data did not match anybody on the National Identification Authority’s (NIA) database register.

The audit, which was jointly conducted by the CAGD and the NIA, to match 601,000 public sector workers’ biometric data with the GhanaCard, also revealed that 533 people on the government’s payroll had multiple identities, with some having three employee numbers.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia announced this when delivering a keynote address at the 2022 Internal Audit Conference in Accra on Tuesday.

The Vice President said efforts were ongoing to get to the bottom of the anomaly by matching the biometric data of those employees with their data at the Social Security and National insurance Trust (SSNIT).
He expressed the government’s resolve to rely on the Internal Audit Agency to rid of corruption in public payroll management and ensure value for money.

“I have heard of ghost workers, but I have never heard of ghosts who are twins or triplets,” which attracted spontaneous laughter from the audience.

The three-day conference was on the theme: “Injecting Fiscal Discipline in Resource Mobilisation and Utilisation for Sustainable Development: The Role of Internal Auditors”.

It brought together heads of public sector heads and managers, policy makers, development partners and key stakeholders, to discuss effective ways of injecting fiscal discipline in resource mobilisation and utilisation for sustainable development.

The conference also provided an avenue for the Agency to coordinate, facilitate and provide quality assurance for internal audit activities in all public sector institutions.

Vice President Bawumia highlighted some of the interventions the government had rolled out since 2017, to ensure cost-savings and enhance revenue mobilisation.

They include the implementation of the Ghana.gov portal to ensure that all ministries, departments and agencies made payments through it, National Digital Property Address System, paperless ports system, e-licensing at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, and the Public Financial Management System.

He said the government had targeted 1,052 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to be enrolled onto the Ghana.gov platform and had 1,018 on-board so far.

Dr Bawumia expressed Ghana government’s commitment to push through the Internal Audit Agency Bill to Parliament and ensure its passage in order to guarantee the objectivity and independence of internal auditors.

“Government will work to restructure and reposition public sector internal audit practices to meet internal standards and grantee the objectivity and independence of internal auditors,” he said.

Dr Bawumia gave assurance government’s resolve to bounce back as the fastest growing economy in Africa, adding; “We’ll rely heavily on the assurance and advising service of internal auditors as we achieve this objective.”
Dr Eric Oduro Osae, Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency, in his welcome remarks, said, “If government wants to fight corruption, it should resource internal auditors and you’ll see wonders”.

He urged the government to pass the Internal Audit Agency Bill into law to guarantee the independence of Internal Audit Agency and properly position it to fight corruption.

He appealed to the government to improve the conditions of service and rationalise the salaries of internal auditors, especially those working with Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other public sector institutions.

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