With companies already reeling from the onslaught of white-collar crime in its myriad forms, cyber-attack, fraud, collusion, money laundering, misappropriation, the list is endless; it’s little wonder that South African businesses feel under constant threat. And it’s been proven endlessly that only strict due diligence procedures, robust internal controls, continual risk assessment, and proactive approaches that produce proactive solutions are effective in this war of attrition.
The phenomenon of ghost employees is one of the most common, but also one of the most difficult schemes to identify and manage, most notably in bigger organizations where the labour force may be huge. It follows that failure to detect ghost employees can result in catastrophic financial consequences for any business. The recent PRASSA debacle is a classic case in point, where, following an anti-corruption operation (Operation Ziveze), where all registered employees were ordered ‘to show up” with their qualifications and employment confirmation, it was revealed that PRASSA had been paying salaries to no less than 3 000 ghost employees who had been registered on full salary since 2020.