Q38.

Is the number of civilian and military personnel accurately known and publicly available?

38a. Accuracy

Score

SCORE: 0/100

Assessor Explanation

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38b. Transparency

Score

SCORE: 0/100

Assessor Explanation

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38c. Ghost soldiers

Score

SCORE: 100/100

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No information on the number of civilian or military personnel could be found on the website of the Ministry of Defence (1). Within the framework of the national service, the government undertakes a census. National service is compulsory for all Algerian citizens over the age of 19 in the defence of the sovereignty and integrity of the national territory. The census takes place from January to September every year. It is made publicly known to citizens through the press and posters in public buildings, such as municipalities, and post offices. Citizens have to provide their national identity card and birth certificate for the census (2). Since it is a very formalized process, it seems plausible that the number of civilian and military personnel is accurately collected by the PNA. However, it is not done so officially and is not published.
The Ministry of Defence also has created a website for military recruitment and drafting, but it does not provide information regarding the number of civilian and military personnel (5). The National Statistical Office published a figure of the persons working in the local authorities and public administrations. Its last report, which covered the period from 2014 until 2016, did not provide any information on civilian or military personnel working in the armed forces (3). The only number that was found with regards to civilians working for the military refers to the employees of military factories which amounted to nearly 30,000 civil workers (4).

No information on the number of civilian and military personnel could be found on the Ministry of Defence website (1).

The only figures that could be found are from international sources. According to Military Balance of 2018, the PNA has 130,000 active soldiers (Army 110,000, Navy 6,000, Airforce 14,000). The numbers include conscripts who serve 18 months in the army (6 months of basic training, 12 months with regular army often involving civil projects). There is also a military reserve of 150,000 to age 50. Paramilitary troops amount to 187,200 (2). According to Global Fire Power, Algerian military personnel amounts to 792,350 of which 520,000 are active and 272,350 are reservists (3). According to a paper published by NATO, the number of Algerian active soldiers is 512,000, while the number of reservists is 400,000 (4).

No evidence was found that ghost soldiers have been a problem within the Algerian armed forces. No report could be found in the media concerning this issue, also see the last country assessment.

The last country assessment mentioned the Groupe de légitime defence (GLD), which had fought in the civil war in the 1990s and received money without being under the control of the military. According to a report in 2014, they benefited from an exceptional retirement (1). In the summer of 2018, there was another report saying that a group of the GLD in Bouria urged the authorities again to respond positively to the demands of the GLD, which includes exceptional proportion retirement pensions and social security contributions for their commitment alongside the security services during the civil war (2). No other relevant information could be found.

The database of civilian and military personnel is currently being evaluated and updated. No detailed numbers have been officially published about the personnel of the Angolan Armed Forces, the intelligence services, the President’s Security Bureau and paramilitary forces. In 2018, a global figure of 100,000 was given for the FAA during the parliamentary state budget discussions. The Minister of Defence stated that over 94% of the approved budget was for expenses with personnel. The head of the president’s Security Bureau indicated that 81% of its budget was for personnel expenses. However, no evidence was provided to back up their claims (1), (2), (3). One major point of criticism from the opposition party UNITA has been the lack of transparency over the number of domestic intelligence or paramilitary agents whose main task is to spy on ruling party critics within state institutions, and the weight of those salaries in the defence budget (2).

There is no official information made public by the Ministry of Defense.

Ghost veterans appear to be a major problem. The most recent push to eliminate ghost veterans entitled to pension payments (an estimated 49,000) was initiated in late 2016 under then-defence minister João Lourenço and is still ongoing (1).

Index Mundi estimated the armed forces have 11,450 members in 2015 (1). According to the World Bank, Armed Force Personnel, the total for Burkina Faso is 11,000 in 2017 (2). There is no solid evidence that these numbers are accurate (3). According to the Burkina Faso Government/ Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2015, the Burkina Faso Army is made up of up to 5800-6000 people, plus 45,000 men and women registered for conscription (4).

The army of Burkina Faso is organized in military and gendarmerie regions and comprises of a regular army, the air force and the gendarmerie (1). As part of its policy, the government, in general, does not provide the public with access to its information (2). According to the Business Anti-Corruption Portal, and U.S. Department of State, the law does not provide for public access to government information (3), (4). Thus, the number of civilian and military personnel is not made available for public access by the Ministry of Defence.

There are a serious issue with ghost soldiers within the rank and file of the Burkina Faso military partly as a result of the crises in September 2017 (1), (2), (3), (4).

The official website of the Military of Defence does not carry details of the number of personnel. However, some other sources provide information on the number of civilian and military personnel that military and security institutions have [2], although it is not certain that these sources are accurate.

In fact, the number of civilian and military personnel is not accurately known or officially collected. Independent assessments vary considerably in their estimates of the number of armed forces personnel. For example, the World Bank estimates that, as of 2016, there were 23,400 armed forces personnel in Cameroon, while a November 2016 report by the International Crisis Group noted that “Cameroon now has around 8,500 troops in the Far North region – a seventh of its defence forces’ manpower” [4], which would put the estimated number of military personnel at around 60,000. Meanwhile, Global Fire Power (GFP) posits the number of Cameroon active available personnel to be 14,500, not including civilians [1]. No other recent independent estimates of the number of civilian defence personnel could be found.

Globalsecurity.org states that “As of 2000 the Cameroonian armed forces were reported to have a total of about 28,000 men including 14,000 for the Army, 1,500 for the Air Force, 1600 for the navy and gendarmerie 1100. By 2016, IISS was reporting a total of about 23,200 men including 12,500 for the Army, 400 for the Air Force, 1,300 for the navy and gendarmerie 9,000. By some estimates, Cameroon’s’ military numbered as many as 60,000 troops by 2015” [1].

The World Bank states that by 2015, the Cameroonian military had 23,400 personnel [2]. No details have been provided from 2016-2018 and the website of the Presidency that carries information on military issues does not present this information. These figures are subject to change as the government recruits almost on a yearly basis. With the advent of Boko Haram and the Anglophone crisis, there has been intake into the military to address these.

In 2013, the Ministry of Finance removed 12 members of the Ministry of Defence, ghost workers who were on the pay role of this ministry [1].

According to the Cameroon Post (July 2017 and April 2018), other examples of ghost workers were of major concern to the Cameroon government and there were discussions over recent campaigns to rid the civil service of ghost workers, though defence establishments were not specifically mentioned [2] [3].

The total number of military and civilian personnel is not updated each year, and the statistics are somewhat unreliable. Though there is no established procedure for disclosing or verifying statistics on the number of personnel, the 2016-2020 Military Programming Act (LPM) and the 2016-2020 Internal Security Programming Act (LPSI) made public the number of civilian and military personnel in the Armed Forces and police in 2016. The LPM 2016-2020, though reported widely by the Ivorian media, is not available on the MoD website, as demonstrated by a search in its publications and documentation tabs (1).

As per Law No. 2016-09 (Loi 2016-09 Portant Programmation des Forces de Sécurité Intérieure pour les Années, LPSI 2016-2020), published in the Official Journal on March 17, 2016, the number of national security personnel in 2016 amounted to:
– Police Nationale (16,953).
– Eaux et Forêts (3,055).
– Direction Générale des Affaires Maritimes et Portuaires (DGAMP) (739).
– Direction Générale des Douanes (4,375) (2).

Domestic and international media, in turn, have been updating the statistics for personnel as the number evolves according to LPM and LPSI requirements. According to the website of Connection Ivoirienne (April 22, 2016), the total number of military personnel in 2016 amounted to 41,515 (3). An update on the LPM 2016-2020 published by Jeune Afrique (February 23, 2018), put the total number of personnel in the Armed Forces as of 2018 at 41,620 (4). “The Military Planning Act provides for a reduction to 40,000 men from 41,620 which consists of 22,920 military and 18,700 gendarmes” (4). In a previous article from December 17, 2017, Jeune Afrique had provided the same number for the total number of military and police personnel: 41,620 (5). The article states, “an important military programming law for the years 2016 to 2020 has been adopted by the Ivorian government. The numbers of the armed forces (La Grande Muette) should be reduced to 40,000 men against 41,620 currently, consisting of 22,920 military and of 18,700 gendarmes” (5). As of November 2, 2018, in an interview with Minister of Defence Hamed Bakayoko published on the government website, a total of 3,157 soldiers had agreed to early retirement (991 in 2017 and 2,166 in 2018) (6):

“The mid-term review is positive in many ways. First, because this Act [LPM] has created a new and unique chain of command. In addition, an order for the enforcement of disciplinary sanctions, such as write-offs, has been signed and executed. Then, two voluntary departure operations resulted in the withdrawal of 3,157 soldiers (991 in 2017 and 2,166 in 2018). A Military Support and Retraining Office has been set up to help starters better integrate into their new professional and social life…” (6)

It is difficult to find a government source who has an accurate number of personnel employed by the MoD.

The MoD does not regularly publish or update the statistics of its military and civilian personnel, as shown in 38A. The absence of such information in open sources points to a low level of transparency.
Ivorian and international media have widely reported about the Military Planning Act (LPM 2016-2020) and referred to the aggregate number of soldiers in the armed forces. But the LPM itself, though adopted and approved in 2016, is not available on the MoD website (1). The full version of the LPM appears not to have been uploaded by the Official Journal.

Still, the personnel statistics for the police forces was disclosed by Law No. 2016-09 (Loi 2016-09 Portant Programmation des Forces de Sécurité Intérieure pour les Années, LPSI 2016-2020) on March 17, 2016, as broken down below:
– Police Nationale (16,953),
– Eaux et Forêts (3,055),
– Direction Générale des Affaires Maritimes et Portuaires (DGAMP) (739),
– Direction Générale des Douanes (4,375) (2).

It is difficult to get comprehensive and updated statistics on MoD personnel.

The confusion over the exact number of soldiers in the armed forces after the post-election crisis of 2010-2011, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration schemes (DDR) and the soldier mutinies in Bouaké and other towns of January and May 2017. As a result, soldiers that are unaccounted for or do not fit government criteria remain an ambiguous issue.

In October 2015, Human Rights Watch (HRW) cited UN reports on the disarmament of 21,000 former combatants. It added that a total of 30,000 soldiers had benefited from reintegration schemes. However, HRW warned that the government disarmament and demobilization schemes until then had mostly benefitted the Forces Nouvelles (FN) loyal to President Ouattara and that only 13% of those disarmed were in fact combatants affiliated with Laurent Gbabgo (1).

According to Aline Leboeuf, a researcher at the Paris-based French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), the true dimension of the Ivorian Army, including former combatants from all sides, could number up to 50,000 if one included the thousands of so-called “associates” gravitating around military units (2). Leboeuf wrote:

“For a French adviser, the Ivorian army is largely a “social peace army”. It was composed of 23,000 registered men in 2014, to whom the government paid a salary so that they do not end up at roadblocks. Another adviser explained to me that the budget of the Ivorian army planned to feed a total of 25,000 men but that in fact, it fed 50,000 because about 30,000 associates gravitated around mixed units…” (2).

AFP reported on May 22, 2017, that former rebel soldiers who had been demobilized in the former rebel stronghold town of Bouaké were demanding the same early retirement benefits (EUR 18,000) offered by the government to the soldiers who had staged mutinies at their barracks in January 2017. The movement of these non-recognized demobilized soldiers was estimated at around 6,000 (3). Given the fact that the DDR schemes may not have captured all the former combatants in its statistics, it is likely that Côte d’Ivoire has military personnel that is unaccounted for.

Many sources (mostly non-Egyptian) such as Global Firepower and Global Security have estimated the number of military personnel (1), (2), there is no official and accessible data that includes such information. According to interviews, there are no official numbers of the numbers of military and civil personnel. the number is vague and only estimations (3), (4), (5).

All the estimates of the numbers of military personnel come from unofficial sources as demonstrated in 38A. After researching all official defence and statistics portals, it does not seem to be officially published, to the best of my knowledge there is no obligation in the law to publish these data (1), (2).

According to our sources, there are some cases of corruption where employees within the military are ghost soldiers (1), (2), (3). Another source confirms the existence of ghost soldiers at a very senior level in limited numbers (1). For example, a senior officer registers a few names as soldiers under his authority while they are not currently working.

The MOD does not provide an official number of military personnel employed. Despite providing some information about the activities of the Ghanaian military personnel, (i.e. the number of personnel trained, the percentage of personnel deployed in peacekeeping operations, etc.) the number is not stated in the MOD’s budget.

According to the latest Global Firepower Report, Ghana has 13,500 military personnel (1), the slightly outdated data of the International Institute for Strategic Studies shows Ghana having 15,500 military personnel (2).

However, the number of civilians employed by the MOD is provided in the Annual Performance Report, published by the Ghana Civil Service. According to the last report available (2017), there are 69 civil servants currently working for the MOD (3). The report provides information on the sex and age distribution of the employees, as well as the sex distribution of promotions and postings.

Information on the number of military personnel is not made publicly available. Information on the number of civilian personnel is published on the Ghana Civil Service Annual Performance Report (1).

Although the procedure for paying salaries is laid out and headcounts are routinely done; in the past year amongst the military (1), there have been cases where salaries, or pension payments of deceased personnel, were (and possibly still are) being paid and siphoned into private pockets rather than the deceased’s family (1), (2).

Although the MOD and Armed Forces have not been mentioned in the reports denouncing unearned salaries, these are common in Ghana’s public institutions; episodes of unearned salaries for GhC505 million across different MDAs were denounced by the Parliamentary Public Account Committee in November 2017 (3); also, in April 2017 the Finance Ministry declared the removal of 27,000 ghost names from the national payroll system. The issue had also been tackled by the previous Mahama administration by introducing a new e-payment system (4) while the current administration is considering the option of outsourcing the national payroll system (5).

The number of civilian and military personnel is updated annually [1]. There are established processes for publishing and verifying statistics on the composition of the armed forces. These statistics can be gleaned from the finance department of the army, where there are records of the monthly payments of personnel, or from media outlets through interviews of senior officials, but there is no transparency declaring numbers to the public [2].

The number of armed forces is not made public by the MoD, rather through media outlets that interview senior officials or commanders [1]. They usually publish it on the anniversary of the Arab Jordanian Hashimite Army.

There is no evidence that there are ghost soldiers in Jordan [1,23].

The number of military and civilian employees is not updated every year and it is not presented in a straightforward manner. The Government release a statistical, which used to come out once a year but has not come out since 2015, which includes the total number of all Government employees (1). The Finance Ministry, on the other hand, states the number of jobs in each ministry, but it does not say whether or not these jobs are full-time posts. That said, using these two figures, observers can produce a reliable estimate for the number of military and civilian personnel (2).

These numbers are generally accurate and considered to be reflective of reality as the Government has no real reason to lie here, activists say (1, 2 and 3).

The Defence Ministry and the bodies that monitor its work do not provide a number for the civilian and military personnel to the public. They provide a total figure to the Finance Ministry and other agencies that publish it, without distinction between military and civilian employees. This also applies to the police and the KNG (1-5).

The Kuwaiti military is small and almost all Kuwaiti officials openly acknowledge this, and it has always been inactive, even during the country’s invasion by Iraq in the 1990s, so ghost soldiers have never been an issue, officials and analysts say (1, 2, 3 and 4).

Numbers of civilian and military personnel at the Ministry of Defence and in the LAF are not accurate as they vary in different sources. The figures on the website are an estimation of the approximate number of active military personnel. The Ministry of Defence does not offer figures for the total number of active military personnel (1). Global Firepower has an estimate of 75,000 (2) while IISS reported 60,000 in 2017 (3). During a panel discussion at Carnegie Middle East Center’s second annual conference in December 2017, the PM stated that the LAF has 82,000 military personnel (4).

The LAF does not publish official figures on the number of civilian and military personnel (1).

There is no evidence of ghost soldiers being a problem within the LAF. A source denied knowledge of any previous incidents with ghost soldiers (1). The metrics of manpower in Lebanon are a recurring topic of discussion within the LAF Command. According to senior LAF officers – both active and retired – this has not been a challenge the LAF and Lebanon have had to deal with (2).

The lack of transparency and the disorder within the security forces mean that the Malian authorities are not even sure of the exact number of security personnel employed by the state. In 2016, Albrecht Conze, head of the EUCAP Sahel/Mali mission, told Malian journalists that no Malian officials had been able to provide him or his organisation with reliable data relating to how many people are employed in the police, the gendarmerie or the national guard.² The precise number of people employed in the security forces is still unknown as of June 2018.⁸ In 2017, a RAND report commented that “personnel services, such as human resources and financial management, are also areas of particular difficulty for the FAMa: There is no accurate total of the number of service members in the FAMa, creating a serious problem of “ghost soldiers”, or soldiers who are on the personnel rolls but are not showing up for duty”.⁷
According to estimates from a 2013 report by the French Senate, the Malian army is composed of fewer than 7,000 men. 90% of those soldiers are from the southern part of the country, limiting its ability to fight in the north. The Air Force has 1,000 soldiers as well as 4 helicopters (MI24), 3 MIG21s (essentially useless) and 15 other planes (troop transport aircraft, reconnaissance plane).³ The National Guard consists of 3,500 troops; among them, 2,000 are from the southern part of the country.³ Troops established in the north are mainly northerners (Tuareg and Arab populations).³ Another estimate of the size of the armed forces pre-crisis puts the number of security personnel, including government-supporting paramilitaries, at above 20,000.⁶ For context, the 2006 SIPRI study provides the following estimates: “The total size of the armed forces is about 7,350, including 400 personnel in the air force and 50 navy personnel. The security forces total 4,800, including 1,800 gendarmes and 2,000 republican guards”.⁴ The army announced in May 2017 that it would recruit an additional 5,000 personnel during the course of 2017, as part of the wider military reform (LOPM).⁵
By contrast, the number of civilian personnel working for the Malian state is officially known and appears to be updated every year. For instance, in September 2017, the government declared that there were 41,911 active civil servants, of which 14,758 were female.¹ The government provided a further breakdown of the figure, showing that there were:
– 15,707 Category A employees, 48% of the total
– 13,102 Category B2 employees, 26% of the total
– 6,348 Category B1 employees, 15% of the total
– 6,754 Category C employees, 11% of the total¹
However, it is not clear whether these numbers include civilian personnel working within the Ministry of Defence or other security-focused organisations.

The Ministry of Defence and the Malian armed forces are not in a position to release credible data on the number of personnel in their ranks because they themselves do not have it (see 38A). The only publicly available data are estimates from third-party organisations such as the French Senate. In 2017, a RAND report commented that “personnel services, such as human resources and financial management, are also areas of particular difficulty for the FAMa: There is no accurate total of the number of service members in the FAMa, creating a serious problem of “ghost soldiers”, or soldiers who are on the personnel rolls but are not showing up for duty”.3 A defence attaché at a foreign embassy in Bamako said that the introduction of an electronic payments system would reveal how many soldiers each commander has under their authority.⁹ This would curb the opportunities for commanders to pocket the salaries of non-existent, deceased or retired soldiers and thus explains why many leaders within the armed forces do not embrace the idea of an electronic system.4
The army announced in May 2017 that it would recruit an additional 5,000 personnel during the course of 2017. This is part of the wider military reform (LOPM), which intends to recruit 10,000 personnel between 2015 and 2019.2 That same month, the army’s director of public relations made an announcement that indicates a nascent and promising move towards transparency in the defence sector. He revealed that the armed forces had received 60,136 applications to serve in the military and provided a regional breakdown: Gao: 2,018; Koulikoro: 10,685; Mopti: 2,860; Ségou: 4,807; Sikasso: 7,656; Kayes: 2,617; Bamako: 3,706 and Tombouctou: 131.1

The assessor found strong evidence that ghost soldiers have been a problem for the armed forces during the past five years. Given that there is no accurate record of the number of people in the armed forces, it is unclear how the authorities are able to ascertain the extent of the problem. 1
In 2017, the government called for judicial investigations after an internal review found that there were about 13,000 fictional employees on the state’s payroll.3 The minister of justice requested that the public prosecutor launch an inquiry into the diversion of bonuses and salary payments of dead soldiers.3 The embezzlement of public funds was estimated to have cost the state 30 billion CFA per year.3
A defence attaché at a foreign embassy in Bamako said that the introduction of an electronic payments system would reveal how many soldiers each commander has under their authority.4 This would curb the opportunities for commanders to pocket the salaries of non-existent, deceased or retired soldiers and thus explains why many leaders within the armed forces do not embrace the idea of an electronic system.4
In 2017, a RAND report commented that “personnel services, such as human resources and financial management, are also areas of particular difficulty for the FAMa: There is no accurate total of the number of service members in the FAMa, creating a serious problem of “ghost soldiers”, or soldiers who are on the personnel rolls but are not showing up for duty”.2

Due to the absence of a Ministry of Defence in its own right and to the secrecy surrounding the Moroccan armed forces, figures are not made directly available to the public by Moroccan authorities (1).

However, they are available indirectly through publications such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) Military Balance. These figures are updated once a year (2).

The score selected is due to the frequency of the update, and the absence of sources other than the Military Balance.

Due to the absence of a Ministry of Defence in its own right and to the secrecy surrounding the Moroccan armed forces, figures are not made directly available to the public by Moroccan authorities (1).

However, they are available indirectly through publications such as the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)’s Military Balance. These figures are disaggregated by role bracket (2).

Due to the level of disaggregation, the fact that the Ministry of Defence does not make these figures directly available and the absence of sources other than the Military Balance, the selected score applies.

No evidence of ghost soldiers over the past 5 years was found in the foreign or the local press(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9).
No evidence of ghost soldiers over the past 5 years was found in NGO reports (10)(11)(12).
Interviewees argued that the lack of overview of military personnel figures represents a risk of ghost soldiers, although they did not provide proof of actual ghost soldiers (13)(14).

Currently, the armed forces comprises of approximately 20,000 personnel and 7,000 Gendarmerie Nationale. However, an exact number is not publicly available. The number of civilian and military personnel is regularly updated, at least once a year, to establish recruitment provisions for the coming year (1). However, for 2018, the Assessor could not find exact numbers for FAN, Gendarmerie Nationale or Garde Nationale on official websites. In 2011, for comparison, the FAN comprised of approximately 12,000 personnel, the Gendarmerie Nationale included around 5,400 personnel, and the Garde Nationale was estimated to have 8,500 personnel (2). This type of information is often available through third parties such as DCAF, ICG or Global Firepower reports. However, there are no regularly updated figures available from official sources, such as the Ministry of Defence. This may be due to government capacity constraints, rather than national security concerns.

Limited information on the number of civilian and military personnel is made publicly available by the Ministry of Defence. However, the figures detailed here were obtained during official interviews (1). The Assessor did not manage to find other recent information regarding the number of military and civil personnel. For 2018, for instance, the Assessor could not find figures for FAN, Gendarmerie Nationale, or Garde Nationale on official websites. 

Over the last three years, military and local media investigations have revealed no issues connected to ghost soldiers (1). Given the relatively small size of the army, a large-scale problem of this nature does not seem likely. However, there is a possibility that ghost soldiers could exist as a result of administrative constraints rather than corruption within the FAN. If this is the case, their numbers are likely to be very small.

The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is an Information Communications Technology (ICT) project initiated by the Nigerian government to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of payroll administration for its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) (1). This has been an attempt to get all MDAs into a computerized payroll system. The government intends to bring the payroll of the military within the IPPIS. September 2017 was the deadline to fully bring the payroll of the military into the IPPIS (2). This drive by the government suggests that there are around 200,000 military personnel in the armed forces. This process will involve a verification process which should weed out ghost soldiers and establish a more accurate figure for serving personnel, but the problem of ghost workers is still an issue. Many MDAs have been integrated into the payroll system, including the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the immigration, prison and the military (2). However, not all MDAs are part of the system. A lack of infrastructure and inaccurate information being supplied by civil servants are a part of the challenges facing the policy.

The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is currently ongoing. The payroll system has identified several ghost soldiers. There are figures for the total number of armed forces personnel at 200,000 (1). However, this figure is likely to be revised following the verification process before the transfer to the integrated payroll system (2). Again, not all MDAs are part of the system. A lack of infrastructure and inaccurate information being supplied by civil servants are part of the challenges facing the policy (3).

There have been credible reports over the last five years of a large number of ghost soldiers (1), (2). The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is currently computerizing the payroll system, which has identified several ghost soldiers. This will involve a verification process which should eliminate ghost soldiers, and establish a more accurate figure for serving personnel. But the problem of ghost workers is still an issue, and not all MDAs are part of the system. A lack of infrastructure and inaccurate information being supplied by civil servants are parts of the challenges facing the policy (3), (4).

The number of civilian and military personnel is not known and is not officially collected. Military personnel is estimated at 61,800, with 57,300 active and 4,500 on reserve (1). No statistics were found indicating the distribution of civilian and military personnel on government or international websites regarding Oman (2), (3), (4). Neither was statistical information regarding the distribution of military and civilian defence personnel found on international websites containing information about Oman such as the CIA or Stockholm International Peace Research Institute websites (5), (6). According to a senior Omani army officer, the number of personnel usually varies from year to year and therefore is inaccurate (7), (8).

According to a senior military officer within the Omani army, the number of personnel is published in the military magazine, Jound, which is publicly available (1). However, this source argues that these numbers are not certain as they usually vary from one year to another, and therefore we can not give an accurate number (2), (3).

There has not been any case of ghost soldiers in the last ten years in the sultan’s Omani army (1), (2).

The number of civilian and military personnel is updated every few years, and therefore, the numbers are not accurate. However, the number could be vague and does not reflect reality (1), (2).

Aggregated or summarised information on the number of civilian and military personnel is made available publicly by the MoF, and the prime minister’s office (1). These numbers are part of the annual budget, which is usually available. According to Alaa Altartir, reports that provide information about the personnel and their numbers and categories are not available (2).

Following the 2005 institutionalization of bank-accounts for every soldier and employee within the PA, issues with ghost soldiers have disappeared (1), (2), (3).

Information available about the numbers of civilian and military personnel within the defence sector is not consistent. The Government does not make this information publicly available, and most of the numbers available in both Arabic and English are based on speculation rather than on reliable information. [1] For example, IISS states that there are 11,800 personnel within the armed forces; 8,500 in the army, 1,500 in the Air Force, and 1,800 in the navy. [2] There are, however, grave discrepancies between numbers, and inaccuracy in reporting due to the lack of official data. The number of civilian and military personnel is not accurately known or officially collected. The number is not accurate as there is nationalization and recruitment of foreigners (Yemeni) to serve in the armed forces, but they are not counted. [3,4]

There is no transparency relating to the number of civilians and military personnel. There are no official numbers available through the Government, and all matters concerning the defence sector are treated as confidential state secrets. [1] As previously explained, information about numbers is very inconsistent, and none of it has been obtained through official means. [2,3]

There have not been any ghost soldiers for the last 10 years at least [1,2].

According to our sources, the strength of the Saudi army is unknown, even to soldiers and many senior officers. There is no public data available. However, senior sources suggest that the number is more than 220 thousand employees (1), (2).

According to our sources, there are no clear and accurate numbers of soldiers. Although one of the sources has access to the numbers of soldiers, they argue that there are other agencies that they do not have access to there numbers, such as the royal guards (1), (2). There have been many estimations regarding the number of military and civilian personnel in Saudi Arabia; however, these are not recent. For example, GlobalSecurity.org estimated that in 2015, Saudi Arabia had 227,000 active-duty personnel, including 75,000 in the army; 20,000 in the air force; 16,000 for air defence; and 15,500 in the navy. It also estimated 100,000 personnel in the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) (3). As mentioned above, these numbers are neither official nor recent. The website of Saudi Arabian Military Industries, a military industry company formed in May 2017, states that the organization aims to create 40,000 direct jobs in the industry by 2030, though no further details are mentioned about the nature of these positions (4).

According to our sources, ghost soldiers are not a serious issue within the MoD in general, but they have been in the past (before 2010). With the current financial and payroll system, the ghost soldiers issue has ended. However, there is still no information about other agencies under the direct supervision of the royal palace and internal security (1), (2). Several allegations surrounding the use of ghost soldiers in the military have been reported on in the media and by government sources recently. Notably, in November 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrested the commander of the SANG, Miteb bin Abdullah, in a wide-ranging anti-corruption purge. Charges against Miteb included awarding fake defence contracts to his firms, and hiring ghost employees. Miteb later paid a USD 1 billion settlement relating to these charges (3). Ghost employees are known to be an issue in Saudi ministries and government departments (4). Mohammed bin Salman has identified tackling corruption and rooting out inefficiencies in government and bureaucracy as one of the main cornerstones of his Vision 2030 reform program (5), (6).

According to our sources, there is not an accurate figure on the number of the civilian and military employees. Sometimes unofficial reports (from the Governmnet) mention these figures, but they are merely speculations without credible sources. (1,2,3). The website of the Ministry of Defence does not mention the number of civilian and military personnel (4). However, the 2018 Budget of the Ministry of Defence provides information regarding the number of civilian personnel, the number of personnel who received a promotion, and the number of new hires (5). Reports also provide information about the number of military personnel (6).

According to our sources, there is a formal announcement of abstract figures on the number of specific items such as new recruits and promotions, but the full number of personnel is not detailed (2,3) The 2018 Budget of the Ministry of Defence provides information regarding the number of civilian personnel, the number of personnel who received a promotion, and the number of new hires (1). The Ministry of Defence declares annually the number of recruits and the number of conscripts .

According to our sources, there are no ghost soldiers in the Tunisian army and there have not been any investigations or rumours surrounding this issue in the past ten years (1,2). There is no evidence of the existence of ghost employees in the Ministry of Defence. No cases regarding ghost soldiers have been reported in the media, and the interviewee confirmed that he has no knowledge of the existence of ghost employees in the Ministry of Defence. (3) Furthermore, the payment system is centralised and computerised which significantly reduces the risk of the existence of such ghost soldiers. The salary and wages payment system is very strict and it is subject to severe controls from the Ministry of Finance and the National Center of Information technologies (CNI). (4)

According to the annual IISS Military Balance, the number of soldiers employed is 63,000 (44,000 Army, 2,500 Navy, and 4,500 Presidential Guards) (1). However, research revealed that information available about the number of civilian and military personnel within the defence sector is inconsistent. The official website of the UAE government does not make this information publicly available (2).

There is no transparency at all about the number of civilian and military personnel that are employed. There are no official numbers available through the government, and most matters related to the defence sector are treated as confidential. As previously explained, information about numbers is available via non-official means, such as IISS Military Balance, about the number of civilian and military personnel within the defence sector (1), (2), (3).

There are no ghost soldiers in the UAE armed forces. There is no evidence of ghost soldier; the institutional mechanism of financial auditing is strict and does not allow for this to happen (1), (2).

Country Sort by Country 38a. Accuracy Sort By Subindicator 38b. Transparency Sort By Subindicator 38c. Ghost soldiers Sort By Subindicator
Algeria 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Angola 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Burkina Faso 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Ghana 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Jordan 50 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Kuwait 25 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
Lebanon 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Mali 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Niger 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Nigeria 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
Palestine 25 / 100 50 / 100 100 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 0 / 100 25 / 100 100 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 0 / 100 100 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Department for International Development and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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