THE acting Director General (DG) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Ms Benedicta Naana Biney, has challenged internal auditors of the service to map out strategies that will completely eliminate fraud on the payroll system of the GES.
She said the payroll of the GES took between 80 to 90 per cent of the GES budget and urged the internal auditors to give it greater attention than just concentrating on pre-audit issues.
Ms Biney threw the challenge in an address read for her by Mr Victor Kofi Mantey, a Deputy Director General of the GES at the opening of the 7th annual national conference of the Association of Internal Auditors of the GES at Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The four- day conference is on the theme “Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in the education delivery-the role of the Internal Auditor”.
Ms Biney noted that the hope to achieve success in the crusade against corruption and all forms of malfeasance in the service depended on the co-operation and support of internal auditors of the GES and, therefore, urged them to initiate steps at the conference to deal with the canker.
She said internal auditing was the singular management function that was designed and dedicated to providing assurance services to management as to whether organisational operations and systems were functioning as intended and, therefore, implored internal auditors of the service not to underestimate their role to help achieve these objectives.
Ms Biney said with the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), the challenges on the payroll will increase since other agencies that the GES did not have control over were involved in its operations and this, therefore, called for national and wholistic approach to uproot the canker associated with the payroll of the service.
“Anything short of this will undermine the Better Ghana Agenda of the government and reduce it to a mere slogan”.
Ms Biney gave the assurance that the GES was determined to ensure that the huge capital injected into the new Educational Reform by the government did not go waste and therefore, management would not accept anything, but the best practices from all staff of the GES that would lead this reform to a success.
Mr Charles Antwi Konadu, the outgoing chairman of the association, paid glowing tributes to all past directors general of the service for their contributions towards the development of the Internal Audit Unit of the service. Notable among them were Professor B.C.F. Lokko, Alhaji Rahimu Gbadamosi, Irene Boakye Boateng and J. M. Quao.
He, however, noted that the Internal Audit Unit had no succession plan in place in terms of a systematic plan that builds the capacity of staff, groom and give the right orientation to members to take up senior management positions without difficulty.
Mr Konadu, therefore, appealed to the GES management to draw up programmes to address these lapses of succession in the unit.
He noted that another challenge of the unit was the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to gather required evidence that would form the basis for their opinions and, therefore, appealed to the acting director general to support auditors to own laptop to enable them discharge their duties efficiently.
Agyewodin (Prof.) Adu Gyamfi Ampem, the Chairman of the GES Council and Omanhene of Acherensua Traditional Area, who chaired the function, also reiterated the call on the internal auditors of the GES to eliminate fraud on the payroll system of the service.
Mr Joseph Tang, the Sunyani Municipal Assembly Deputy Co-ordinating Director, who represented the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Kwasi Oppong Ababio in a welcoming address, said the establishment of the Internal Audit Agency was not for witch-hunting but to ensure transparency and value for money in government business.
The association, which was formed in May, 1995, sought to bring all internal auditors of the GES into a strong and unified association to assist all members to maintain high professional and ethical standards.