Controller & Accountant General adopts strategy to eliminate Ghost Names off payrolls


The Government through the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), has directed Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, MMDAs including Decentralized Heads to conduct a headcount of staff at their respective institutions to validate their existence on the payroll.

The directive reinforces the Government’s Expenditure Rationalization Drive to expunge ‘ghost names’ and address the issue of un-earned salaries from the payroll.

The directive also entreated the said Heads and Institutions to make do with the Electronic Salary Payment Voucher ESPV, which is the ystem deployed to them to perform monthly validation of personnel on the payroll.

They are additionally tasked to involve their Internal Auditors in the validation and where necessary, use them to carry out specific physical identification of staff by making reference to their personal records.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Controller and Accountant-General, Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem.

According to the statement, Heads of Government Institutions are required to submit a monthly verification report of staff on the payroll together with the feedback from the ESPV system to the Director-General, Internal Audit Agency, and the Controller and Accountant Generals latest by the 15th day of the ensuing month.

The release added that 30% of the salaries of Ministers and District Chief Executives of the MMDAs are being deducted at source as announced by the Government.

History of ‘Ghost Names’ on Gov’t Payroll

In May 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the country had saved GHC443 million following the Finance Ministry’s suspension of salary payment to some 26,589 ghost workers in April 2017.

He said the comprehensive payroll audit conducted by the Ministry within the last two months has purged the system of ghost names and saved the nation some money.

Speaking at the May Day celebration at the Black Star Square Monday, President Akufo-Addo said the country spent GH¢36,166,203 per month to maintain the 26,589 ghost workers on the government payroll.

Heaving a sigh of relief, he said: ” “These “workers” have not come forward to be biometrically verified by SSNIT, despite numerous calls by the Controller and Accountant General to do so.”

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta on April 18 directed the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to delete the names of 26,589 workers from the payroll for not registering on the new SSNIT biometric system.

President Akufo-Addo assured the workers who had gathered at the Black Star Square his government has put in place other measures to clean the payroll.

He explained this includes the integration of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS) platform for salaries of public workers to remove manual processing.

He said his government will start the implementation of the GhIPSS integrated salary platform on a test basis beginning May. This is expected to cover all workers in the country by June 2017, he added.

“SSNIT has also been asked to create a separate database for the Controller, by biometrically registering close to two hundred thousand CAP30 workers.”

According to the President, the cumulative effect is that government’s payroll will have a direct interface for all the existing database, expected to reduce payroll fraud to the barest minimum.

“This will provide a complete end-to-end visibility of the entire payroll system, while having a seamless integration between payroll cost and the government’s general ledger,” the President said.

An audit of government workers has produced 7,000 non-existent employees benefiting from payments from state coffers.

The number of ‘ghost names’ detected are for the first few months of 2020 and could increase by the close of the year.

Confirming the development, acting Controller and Accountant General, Mr Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem, said the anomalies were found during a country-wide audit to validate the government payroll.

This has been a perennial problem as the government spends over 60% of revenue on emoluments stifling infrastructural development.

the Auditor-General’s Department has also expressed worry over what it said was 45% of the country’s revenue being spent on 600,000 workers on the government’s payroll.

Mr Kwaning-Bosompem further expressed optimism of dealing with the challenges which significantly drains the government’s purse.

“Today, it will be very difficult to bring ghost names onto the payroll; besides, the department does not capture names onto the payroll as this is done at the ministries, departments and agencies’ level through the Public Services Commission before we get new entrants onto our system,” he said.

He was addressing employees in Accra during the launch of a monthly training for staff of the department.

The government lost about GH¢564.2 million which was reported in early 2020 with the Auditor-General insisting that supervising heads of institutions would be made to refund the monies.

An exercise of by the Auditor-General unearthed 7,823 ‘ghost’ employees in 21 MDAs.


In April 2017, about 27,000 ghost names were removed according to the Finance Ministry. It was after the completion of a SSNIT biometric enrolment exercise.

As recent as April 2017, the Finance Ministry announced it had removed close to 27,000 names from the payroll at the end of a SSNIT biometric enrolment exercise. Again, a little over 23,000 names were suspended from the payroll as the individuals could not be accounted for in a nationwide headcount conducted by the Finance Ministry.

These two actions alone, the Ministry disclosed, had saved the country over 250million Ghana cedis in 2017 alone; with a monthly savings of about 35million Ghana cedis.

These two actions alone, the Ministry disclosed, had saved the country over 250million Ghana cedis in 2017 alone.


Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper that an amount of GHC111.2 million was saved after non-existing names of about 6,000 people were cleared from the government’s payroll four years ago.

This was after government undertook a nine-month cleanup exercise from January to September 2015.


The situation was not different in 2014 When the Controller and Accountant General’s Department has to expunge 3,179 ghost names from the pay roll. In that year, the Education Ministry alone had to also eliminate 2,913 ghosts from its books.


A project was initiated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) in February 2011 to clear ghost names from the government’s payroll. 34,000 illegal names on the pensioners’ payroll in seven regions at the time.


The Auditor-General’s Report for that year revealed that Ghana lost some GH¢2,485,697,863, representing 90.3 per cent of financial malfeasance, to ghost names on the payroll of the country’s foreign missions alone.


A task force set up by the Minister of Education in 2001 to exorcise a targeted 30,000 ghost names from the payroll of the Ghana Education Service (GES) expunged 10,000 names. Based on the 1998 Auditor-General’s Report, it was estimated that for every GH¢10 paid in wages, salaries and allowances in 1998, about 60Gp (or six per cent) was an unauthorised payment.