- The Accountant General faltered by gross negligence in ensuring functional internal controls were operating and the question MUST now be asked if it was deliberate or not. The MP-Ministers faltered by displaying gross dishonesty.
We may have bashed the MP-Ministers who took the double pay. I did too and they deserved it for their gross dishonesty.
But the Paymaster General of the state in the office of the Accountant General (AG) also needs to be blasted for gross professional incompetence. As an accountant, my viewpoint is that there were two separate points the AG could have had this stalled, corrected or redirected. Two payments from two separate sources but to the same person.
Firstly each MP-Minister would be known to the AG as being both an MP and a Minister because their appointment letters would have been copied to his office (if it isn't, that's a weakness in the controls). Based on the above and collaborations between the AG, Parliamentary Admin and Ministry of Finance, a fixed standard salary for the dual roles should have been determined and the MP-Minister informed.
The components of the staff cost attributable to Parliament and Ministry could still easily be done without the physical money being paid from two separate Offices - that's why accounting codes and journals are used. Personally, the practice of different committees determining final salaries of MP-Minister at end of tenure and then balances paid is not only a weak internal control, but a very awful disregard for the time value of public money. In my view, the base rates of MPs, Ministers and MP-Ministers should be determined then perhaps pegged to an adjusting formula for inflationary and performance changes but NOT at end of tenure - at the start of every year (or better still as part of the budgeting cycle). Transparency and Value for money is Key. Let's face the truth - we wouldn't do this in a privately run business - why do we allow it in the public sector where we require every Cedi to travel a mile longer? This is so basic.
Secondly, I would have considered that irrespective of the different bank account numbers used by MP-Ministers, each would have a unique name, date of birth and National Insurance number. Any 2 out of these three (or all 3), should have been enough to help the AG reconcile payments to MP-Ministers even if they were being paid from 10 separate Government accounts. These reconciliations should have been happening monthly and automatically. It would have meant that every month, total amounts due the MP-Minister (for their dual roles and as per their contracts) on the one hand must be equaling total amounts paid them (net via bank), tax deductions, National insurance, loan repayments etc. on the other hand. If these reconciliations were happening the error wouldn't have come this far. As a matter of fact, with the revelations coming out, I would even suggest that the Auditor General considers auditing the Personal Tax and Insurance Deductions made and paid in respect of these MP-Ministers.
The Accountant General faltered by gross negligence in ensuring functional internal controls were operating and the question MUST now be asked if it was deliberate or not. The MP-Ministers faltered by displaying gross dishonesty.
Makes you wonder - maybe everybody knew; maybe everybody chose to be quiet.........
Shame on you all....