23.01.2008 Business & Finance

No Way For Fraudsters

By Daily Guide
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–On Cedi Redenomination

THE CONTROLLER and Accountant-General, Christian Sottie, has disclosed that intelligence reports have revealed some miscreants are planning to adjust their computer software in order to defraud workers, especially in the issuance of pay slips.

In an answer to a question whether it was not possible for such criminals to cheat unsuspecting workers, Mr. Sottie stated that the Controller and Accountant-General's Department (CAGD) was up to the task and that all measures had been put in place to nab such criminals.

Mr. Sottie made this known when he addressed a sensitization workshop on the re-denomination of the cedi for a section of accountants from the Public Service.

The 2-day workshop, he said, was to educate accountants on changes that would take place not only in July when the old cedi would be used alongside the new one, but also beyond.

He stated that it was also to equip accounting staff to ready themselves to meet the challenges of recording, accounting and reporting.

Mr Sottie also noted that the major challenge during this period, would be the conversion from old and new, and expressed the hope that with the current education, a lot of Ghanaians would be able to do the conversion with ease.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. Kwadwo Baah Wiredu stated that the Bank of Ghana (BoG), in its determination to ensure that the country kept pace with modern practices, took the giant step towards the redenomination of the cedi.

“With this policy initiative, it is imperative that all stakeholders place themselves in readiness to meet the challenges arising out of the re-denomination,” he added.

He said the exercise was particularly important to accountants, since they spent too much time in recording transactions, data entry and reporting.

“Under redenomination arrangements, time spent on data capture whether manual or computerized would be freed for other accounting activities,” he emphasised.

He said it was gratifying to note that the Controller & Accountant General, the chief advisor to government on accounting and financial matters, had come up with the policies and procedures that would guide all affected staff on how to manage the transition.

The Minister recognised the initiatives taken by the Controller & Accountant General, which were geared towards adapting financial management techniques of the private sectors to the public sector.

Some of these initiatives included integrating treasury functions and accounting staff into Ministry's Departments and Agencies (MDAs), reengineering the business processes for budget and cash releases, assigning responsibility to heads of departments to manage their bank accounts for budget implementation.

All these initiatives, he said, had contributed immensely to the implementation of budgeted programmes of MDAs and MMDAs.

Mr. Baah-Wiredu however expressed his concern over the risk of wrong conversion of accounting data whether intentional or in error.

Such errors, he mentioned, may give rise to losses as a result of under-conversion of revenue or over-conversion of bills due to third parties.

He therefore advised that anyone who deliberately falsified accounting data to the detriment of a government institution would not be spared.

The minister appealed to participants at the workshop to promptly refer to their head of account at the ministry level or the treasury headquarters any time they were confronted with issues they could not find answers to.

By Esther Awuah

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