Ghost School Payroll Scam Uncovered By OSP, CAGD Investigations


The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) have recently revealed disturbing findings from their collaborative investigation into Government Payroll Administration in Ghana.

The report unveiled a pervasive network of irregularities, including the alarming presence of unauthorized validators and fictitious entities manipulating the payroll system, particularly within the Northern Region covering educational institutions under the Ghana Education Service.

According to the joint report released by the OSP and CAGD, numerous management units were discovered to be validating individuals using credentials of deceased, retired, or transferred validators. This malpractice not only compromised the accuracy of validations but also posed a clear risk of continued unauthorized engagements of staff members within respective institutions.

Furthermore, the absence of proper management units in some schools led to the use of inadequate validation processes, thereby jeopardizing the reliability of nominal rolls and attendance monitoring systems. Most notably, an egregious case emerged where the non-existence of DA Primary School in the Kumbungu District of Ghana Education Service did not prevent this fabricated entity from being represented as operational, with phantom staff members receiving monthly salaries based on false validations.

The report highlighted instances where headteachers and unit heads validated individuals without knowledge of their current status or whereabouts and even continued to validate persons who were either deceased, retired, or had vacated their positions, perpetuating erroneous salary disbursements.

Out of 1,265 high-risk individuals scrutinized on the payroll, 1,020 were identified as legitimately validated following assessments. As a result, blocked salaries totaling GHC2,854,144.80 linked to unearned payments to deceased, retired, or missing personnel were restored for confirmed beneficiaries.

By rectifying these discrepancies and removing what the report termed as “Ghost Names” from the payroll, the Government of Ghana achieved significant cost savings amounting to GHC34,249,737.60 for the 2024 financial year alone. The impact of this clean-up operation is expected to yield future savings and enhance accountability in payroll management, averting potential losses from undetected irregularities.

The joint efforts of the OSP and CAGD underscore the crucial role of oversight and accountability in preserving public funds and upholding financial integrity within governmental operations. The revelations serve as a stark reminder of the importance of robust checks and balances to prevent fraudulent activities and safeguard public resources for the benefit of all citizens.

By Vincent Kubi