Management of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), through its physical verification exercise undertaken in respect of some anomalies observed with the operations of its operations, has deleted 16,839 undeserved beneficiaries from the payroll; saving the nation an amount of twenty million, two hundred and six thousand, eight hundred cedis (GH¢20,206,800.00)
The current management of the Agency which inherited about 63000 beneficiaries across the country conducted an audit earlier in the year in respect of the payroll system and observed a number of discrepancies including the fact that January 2017 payroll submitted to the Agency for approval included arrears to some beneficiaries as far back as May 2016, with 2,999 beneficiaries vacating their post but continue to draw allowances.
In view of that, the Agency suspended the payment of beneficiary allowances and begun a comprehensive audit into the payroll which led to the deletion of the 2,999 beneficiaries saving the nation GH¢4,270,800.00 for the four months of suspension.
However, at a press conference addressed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Justin Frimpong, he indicated that management had also commissioned the Internal Audit Agency to carry out what he described as ‘’special audit’’ into the operations of the Agency in 45 selected districts across the country and their regional offices.
The Agency, he indicated, also conducted a physical verification exercise of beneficiaries in each of the 216 districts across the country due to the limited scope of the Internal Audit Agency which only audited 45 districts.
It was however established in the Draft Audit Report that, payments of unearned allowances to beneficiaries who were not at post was GH¢1,247,300 whilst funds meant for official use paid into personal accounts was GH¢5,433,261.
Justin Frimpong also indicated that, procurement were done without adherence to due process costing the nation an amount of GH¢85,563.
‘’Supporting documents for payments not sighted amounted to one million, seven hundred and eighty-nine thousand, one hundred and ninety-one cedis (GH¢1,789,191)…Discrepancies between data generated from YEA portal and data obtained from the District offices.’’
“…Beneficiaries recruited without appointment letters/appointment letters not signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) among others,’’ he said.
The YEA CEO revealed that, to open up its concentration on the discrepancies that have rocked the Agency, management’s findings have established that, the nation was saved GH¢20,206,800 which could have gone to non-deserving beneficiaries after deleting 16,839 names from the payroll.
It emerged that 2,716 beneficiaries did not have appointment letters but the Agency was paying an amount of GH¢814,800 to them every month. “This translates into GH¢3,259,200 for the four months (February to May 2017.)” he said.
Justin Frimpong also stated that, 9,442 beneficiaries were above the requirement age but were also on the payroll drawing GH¢2,832,600 every month.
“4,681 beneficiaries have vacated post. This means that the Agency was paying one million four hundred and four thousand three hundred cedis (GH¢1,404,300.00) every month. Therefore, the Agency would have paid five million, six hundred and seventeen thousand, two hundred cedis (GH¢5,617,200.00) for four months.’’
“… 11,512 beneficiaries were without assumption letters. This amounts to three million, four hundred and fifty thousand, six hundred cedis (GH¢3,453,600.00) per month. For the four months (February –May 2017) the Agency would have paid thirteen million, eight hundred and fourteen thousand, four hundred cedis (GH¢13,814,400.00’) Justin Frimpong said.
He also noted that there were 14,443 non-existing beneficiaries who were receiving GH¢4,332,900.00 every month, but for the suspension of payment from February to May 2017, the Agency would have been paying GH¢17,331,600 for the period.
It is also surprising to note that, some appointment letters purportedly signed by the current CEO were issued to some beneficiaries. But the CEO, Justin Frimpong stressed that he had never signed any appointment letter since he assumed office.
According to him, there were situations where some appointment letters issued bear the signature of the outgone CEO between March and April 2017, when indeed the outgone CEO was not at the time in office.
To deal with these challenges, the CEO enumerated that, management is in talks with the sector ministry to strengthen the internal audit mechanism which includes the introduction of a pre-monthly validation policy before payment of allowances is done.
He also said, all payments will now pass through the internal audit unit for pre-auditing before payment is effected.
‘’In our quest to position the Agency to effectively perform its core mandate and to avoid future occurrences of the aforementioned challenges, the Agency is embarking on staff movement within department, units, districts and the regions. Management in due time will be referring matters involving alleged fraud and other impropriety to the appropriate security agencies for the necessary actions,’’ he said, and assured the people of Ghana that the Agency and the ministry will ensure that justice will be served in this matter.