Ghost workers: AGF contradicts finance minister

Says IPPIS can’t check ghost workers  in Nigeria

From FRED ITUA, Abuja

Auditor– General for the Federation (AGF), Mr. Samuel Ukura, yesterday, contradicted the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, saying  that the embarrassing syndrome of ghost workers will continue in Nigeria if the current management of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information Systems (IPPIS) was not immediately checked by the appropriate authorities.

His statement sharply contradicts the earlier position of Mrs. Adeosun, who recently boasted that the Federal Government was able to weed out ghost workers from the government’s payroll with the help of IPPIS.

Ukura, who presented the 2014 Annual Audit Report to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikashuwa alleged that unidentified staff of Soft Alliance Limited, the software developers, have unhindered access to the data-base and usually set up new users and change live data from time to time.

He told newsmen after presenting his report,  that the password controls for access to IPPIS are not adequate because the database can be accessed remotely through the Internet.

He said the password to access the IPPIS database does not expire after 90 days, hence, making it possible for retired government officers to use their password after leaving office.

He also expressed concern that some user names and passwords were shared by several users and that most of them used words like ‘consultant’ or ‘technical’ with no restriction on the number of sign-in attempts.

He said: “The audit trial for the IPPIS has not been enabled and that as a  result, it is not always possible to trace which user made particular inputs or changes. For example,  fraudulent transactions cannot be traced to a particular user.

“Application controls have not been activated in IPPIS to ensure that gross pay is input from salary and allowance tables, rather than the actual amounts being input directly.

“Completeness checks are not activated to ensure that all necessary data  like the bank account number,  grade level, and job title, have been entered. Duplicate checks to determine that the bank account numbers or employee numbers  are not used by more than one payee.

“Reasonableness checks not activated so that an officer’s age less than 18 years can still be paid while user profiles are not adequately restricted, hence, an officer in one MDA can amend the payroll data for other MDAs. The ability to create new users on the system is not adequately protected and restricted to a few ‘super users’.”

Ukura lamented that his office had, as a result of the anomalies,  discovered that about N330 million was paid to 300,000 people without following approved salary scale while double payments of about N30 million was paid within three months.

He added that imperfections in the IPPIS system had made the country to lose huge sums of money with the payment of N12 million each to 40 members of staff who were not included in the payroll of the relevant MDAs.

Ukura also explained that 152 officers on IPPIS did not have personnel files in their MDAs while N193million paid to unidentified persons.

Apart from this, he explained that N1.163 million was paid  to 596 employees with income tax deductions from April 2012 to September 2013 and that 2,000 employees had no pension deductions.

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