Double pay: MPs were trusted to do the right thing- Controller rejects blame

Controller and Accountant-General’s Department says it cannot be blamed for the payment of double salaries for some ministers under the Mahama led government.
Head of Payroll Elizabeth Osei told Joy News Thursday, her outfit acted on instructions from the Finance minister to pay ministers their agreed pay.
” Once you are a minister, we pay you…we did just that,” she said.
A minister is paid ¢15,739 but a minister who is also an MP takes ¢16,423.
Some MPs serving as ministers took salaries for both positions and as a result, bagged ¢32,162 a month making them the highest paid political office holders in Ghana.
At least nine Minority MPs are expected to visit the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) which is investigating the matter. They include Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu who was Labour and Employment minister, Tamale Central MP, Inusah Fuseini who was Lands and Natural Resources minister.
NDC MP for Ada East Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah who was Minister of State in-Charge of Social and Allied Institutions and NDC MP for Asunafo South Eric Opoku who was Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister.
Among the nine suspects, some have explained they did not take double salaries but double payments.
They have explained that they followed the rules which require a minister who is an MP to choose one of the two pay packages.
They opted to take a minister’s salary which is 16,423 in December 2016, higher than an MP who was entitled to 13,686. Such persons therefore received a top up ¢2,737 per month to finish off on a minister’s salary.
Joy News has learnt this type is not considered double salary. The CID is focusing on suspects who took full salaries as MP and another as minister.
Joy News has also learnt some of these politicians who face the charge of stealing public funds provided different account numbers to the two paying authorities – the Finance Directorate of Parliament and the Controller’s office.
This made it more difficult to detect the criminality. The suspected criminals who are serving in parliament could face prosecution if the allegations are found to be true.
Elizabeth Osei told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gapko, the double salaries became possible because the Pay departments of both Parliament and Controller and Accountant-General’s Department do not communicate.

Parliament is a subvented institution, which allows it to pay its officers directly.  ‘Controller does not go to check who is paid in parliament’, she said.
While Controller paid the ministers, Parliament also the MPs.
Suggesting that the MPs were trusted to do the right thing by flagging the anomaly, Elizabeth Osei said “. I don’t see the risk here looking at the calibre of people we have here”.
Following the scandal, the Controller has taken steps to ensure it does not happen again. It pays only ministers who are not MPs and leaves Parliament to pay MPs who are ministers.
An MP who is a minister would choose which salary to take. The difference is ¢684.
source: myjoyonline.com

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