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Sierra Leon: Census Methodologies

(extracted from case study)

Subtopics on this page:

Registration process

The staff to be registered is requested to present a fully filled form, containing all personnel and financial data.  The accountants in all departments registered were asked to add/check the financial information (grade, scale, program code, unit, allowances, deductions) before submission/photographic registration. Furthermore, a copy of documentary evidence, supporting a legitimate employment status, was requested for.  No staff was registered/ photographed without these documents attached to the registration form. Many of these appointment letters were found to be fictitious upon further investigation (See registration form for civil servants).  The forms for the teaching staff and the police forms are slightly different, specific to the respective departments. The registration also captures the unit-level within the departments/ministries.  The heads of units are requested to fill a form, listing down all staff of her/his unit present for photographic registration. This information forms the cost-centers to be paid.

Verification process

After the photographic registration, the registration papers are filed, sorted by PIN and the data ntered into a Computerized Personnel Management System (See more on the IT Background). This CPMIS then outputs reports, which the verification team uses to check the information supplied against the records held in the archives of the ESO and/or original records held by the Departments/ Ministries.  The filled and signed registration forms together with the copied appointment documents serve as a basis for the investigations.

  All eight members of the team in charge with this crucial part of the project are ESO staff, including two former (retired) records officers with great experience.  The team is advised to ensure for the integrity of core-data of all civil servants, with special emphasis on the following:

  • authenticity of appointment document
  • appointing Authority - legitimacy of appointment procedures
  • correct Names, Date of Birth
  • starting Date of First Appointment
  • correct Designation and Salary-Grade/Scale (for payroll).

The file number of the original appointment-document is also collected and stored in the Database for future reference.

Senior Establishment Officers are supervising the team and approve the output.  These officially authorized results of the verification team are then entered into the CPMIS.  The Establishment Secretary’s Office has only authorized authentic staff with legitimate employment status for transfer to the payroll-system.

Approval of data by the departments

Upon completion of the above steps, the CSV Office submits a “gross-to-net” report to the account-sections of the individual ministries. There the sub-accountants and personnel officers check for correct financial data (basic salaries, allowances, deductions, tax rates) and ensure that all staff is listed under the correct pay-location and Division-Code.  This set of data is then signed off by each responsible vote controller (usually the Permanent Secretary) and comes back to the CSV Office.  The validation and entry of the financial data returned from the Departments is the last step before the data required for the computation of the payroll can be extracted and prepared for transfer to the AGD payroll system, which resides on a networked SCO-UNLX platform

Data transfer to AGD payroll system

This electronic transfer of the payroll-related data has turned out to work well with simple 3/12" floppy disc and data in text-format.  Once the data resides in the AGD-accounting system, it will only be transferred the other way in the future in order to keep the CPMIS up to date with financial information.  Administration, entry, retrieval and maintenance of all other personnel-related data stored in the CPMIS are the responsibility of the ESO.

After positive verification and inclusion on the payroll (transfer of data to AGD), the staff is entitled to be issued a photographic ID-Card.

All requests for changes to the payroll data (originating from the Departments/Ministries) have to be approved by the ESO prior to submission to the AGD.  Only documented and duly authorized changes are entered into the accounting system and processed for payment. Click HERE to see the Flow-Chart that shows the steps involved.

Cooperation with other departments

As shown in ANNEX A, the project requires the cooperation of all Departments involved. In this particular case, the excellent cooperation between the ESO and the AGD (through the CSV Office) and the institutional strength of the AGD has leveled the ground for a successful outcome.

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has largely stayed in the background until recently the influx of independent consultants has pushed for more involvement in payroll-fraud investigations.

The Accountants, Paymasters and Personnel Managers in the ministries have understood, accepted and adopted to the systems and procedures put in place

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