The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has resolved to ensure that four staff members of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) refund double salaries paid them.
According to the 2020 Auditor General (A-G), the staff involved had all been granted sabbatical leave by KNUST to take appointments at different government institutions, and it was detected that they were being paid twice.
The law pertaining to sabbaticals, as was explained at the committee sitting on Tuesday, demands that the parent institution pays the basic and premium salaries.
It also came to light that the university, in its letters to the officers, informed them not to take any other salaries from their respective institutions.
Given that KNUST and all four institutions are public their salaries are drawn from the Consolidated Fund, which is why the PAC and the A-G were convinced the officers had received double salaries.
The anomalies are contained at paragraph 1089 of the 2020 report of the Auditor-General on the public accounts of Ghana, on public boards, corporations, and other statutory institutions for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.
The first on the list is Prof. Bayor Marcel Tunkumgmen, who was granted leave from October 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020, to take up an appointment as Director of the Institute of Traditional and Alternative Medicine at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, and granted an extension to July 31, 2021. He earned GH¢92,826.35 at KNUST.
The second is Mr. Solomon Pamford, who earned GH¢135,142.75 at KNUST, was granted sabbatical leave from February 1, 2019 to January 31, 2020, to take up an appointment as Registrar at the University for Energy and Natural Resources, and was granted an extension.
The third, Prof. Samuel Nii Odai, who earned GH¢113,663.69 at KNUST, was granted sabbatical leave from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, to take up an appointment as Vice Chancellor, Accra Technical University, and was granted an extension.
The fourth was Prof. Peter Twumasi, who earned GH¢147,235.90 at KNUST and was granted sabbatical leave from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2020, to take up an appointment as Director General of the National Sports Authority. The committee said he had not returned.
The A-G report said its further checks, however, revealed that the issue had resulted in the double payment of basic salaries and market premiums by the government to the officers to the tune of GH¢488,868.69 as of December 31, 2020.
The MP for Adomoko Kissi, who raised the issue, sought to know whether “the monies have been refunded to your institution [KNUST], and what measures have been put in place to curb the issue of double salaries under sabbatical leave.
The challenge for the Committee was that the officers were paid by KNUST in line with the law on sabbatical leave, and the new institutions also paid them, both from the public purse, the Consolidated Funds.
This, according to the Chairman of the PAC, James Klutse Avedzi, “is a double salary.” His reason was that the leave is granted for lecturers to go on academic research work to benefit their university.
“So, when we pay you to go and do research, and for that research we are paying you again [by the other institution but from the same source], is it not double?”
“So, what the auditors said is true. We are going to uphold this. It is none of your [KNUST management’s] business. But we will refer these issues for the recovery of the money from them.”
In response, the Registrar, Andrews Kwasi Boateng said, as far as the university is concerned, it has not paid double salaries. He explained that the officers qualified for the sabbatical leave and thus qualified to be paid their basics and premiums, “and that is exactly what we did.”
He added thereafter that in the university’s letters to the officers, they were told not to “take basics anywhere. And therefore, we do not agree with the auditors that they were paid double salaries.”
According to him, it was difficult for the university to monitor whether officers on sabbatical leave were being paid at the place where they were to work.
But the Auditor said that they have a system to track everyone on sabbatical leave, and that helps them detect if they receive double salaries.
Meanwhile, the management told the committee that they have received a letter from the ministry that Prof. Peter Twumasi has not been paid his allowances, so there is nothing to show he has received double salaries.