Internal Audit Agency announces
The Internal Audit Agency (IAA) has announced that through the cleaning of about 792 ghost names from the national payroll, it has helped to save about L$173,833,364.00 in annual expenditure for the government.
The IAA, Civil Service Agency (CSA), and the National Identification Registry (NIR) form a task force responsible to clean the payroll for the government in order to have on the payroll the actual people working.
At a news conference in Monrovia on August 17, 2020, Emmanuel B. Nyeswa, Director General of IAA, said the entity has concluded the final Phase of the Payroll Verification exercise covering the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Justice sector, inclusive of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) and the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS).
Mr. Nyeswa said this is done in a quest to provide reasonable assurance in the management of personnel services and enhance the Government’s objective of maintaining public financial probity.
“This exercise achieved the cleaning of about 792 ghost names from the National Payroll, thereby saving the government about L$173,833,364.00 in annual dollar value,” IAA’s Director-General Nyeswa said.
Mr. Nyeswa said in a scenario of five years, if said ghost names persist on the national payroll, the government of Liberia would be losing a whopping L$869,166,820.
“We can proudly intimate that the Payroll Verification exercise was very successful, as it authenticated the actual number of employees that are legitimately working under the afore-named government institutions across the country, which was the ultimate goal of the exercise,” Mr. Nyeswa said.
He said while the exercise was extremely herculean, considering the challenge of deploying auditors simultaneously across the fifteen counties in the midst of COVID-19 and the difficult road conditions to access the counties, the IAA auditors braved the challenges and covered all of the areas of the assignment provided by the auditees with the goal of physically verifying individuals considered employed under the entities earlier named.
According to him, this clearly indicates that this final Phase is a result of previous verification conducted nationwide under the 2018/2019 Payroll Verification exercise.
“The previous exercise produced a significant number of unverified personnel, some of whom did not show up for the exercise, others are deceased, retired, dismissed, or had resigned. In order to provide reasonable assurance that said unverified individuals are either legitimate or non-existent, we had to initiate Phase II of the exercise which we have concluded with recommendations forwarded for action,” Mr. Nyeswa said.
According to him, it is crucially relevant to mention that aside from the deletion of those ghost names from the government’s payroll, they have further recommended, among other things, the conduct of a forensic investigation to trace the sources of recipients of the salaries for those non-existent employees.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nyeswa used the medium to reassure President George M. Weah, and the people of Liberia a renewed commitment to upholding the statutory mandate of promulgating and ensuring that common internal audit standards and systems, in keeping with best practices, are established and maintained across government institutions.