Ministries losing billions to ghost workers

Taxpayers have been losing more than Sh1.8 billion annually.through dubious payments to ghost civil servants.

But the noose could soon be tightening on rogue senior public service officers who have been pocketing the money after President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday
directed an audit of all ministries as part of a far- reaching cleaning up of the government payroll.

“In an initial eight ministries partially audited, we have found evidence that indicates that a considerable number of officers who are either on secondment, are
deceased, retired or have deserted their duties and who therefore ought not to be remunerated, are still retained in the public service payroll,” said Mr Kenyatta
in a statement to newsrooms.

The audit had revealed that the government was losing Sh70 million in irregular payments to non-existent civil servants in the eight ministries.

“If indeed the same applies to all the 18 ministries, the government loses some Sh150 million monthly and approximately Sh1.8 billion annually,” he said, adding
that the revelations had caused consternation.

Mr Kenyatta directed the ministry of Devolution and Planning and the National Treasury to outsource the audit and cleaning up of the payroll to a reputable company.

The work should be undertaken within three months and a report submitted to his office.

The audit will be led by the ministry of Devolution, which is in charge of the directorate of public service management.

Last year, Health Cabinet secretary James Macharia said devolution had made it possible to expose the ghost workers in his ministry.

The enormity of the problem of ghost workers began to emerge after the national government transferred payrolls to the devolved governments earlier this week.

Governors have been cleaning up the payrolls through headcounts to determine the number of workers on the ground against those received from the Ministry of
Devolution.

An analysis of a number of counties revealed a grim picture. The number of workers in Nyandarua County jumped from 313 to 1,488 while Kisumu County has 3,497 civil servants in the payroll with a wage bill of Sh193 million every month.

In Mombasa county, the numbers now stand at 2,300 workers with a monthly wage bill of Sh80 million while in Taita-Taveta county, some 1092 workers were seconded to the county with a wage bill of Sh50 million per month.

In Nyeri, the numbers have swelled to 2,943 with the annual wage bill now standing at Sh2.3 billion while in Siaya County, the numbers now stand at 1,900 workers with an estimated Sh 48 million wage bill.

An officer offering technical advice to the human resource committee at the Council of Governors who
sought anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said those to be paid by the end of the month
will be determined through a headcount being undertaken in most counties.

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi, who is also the chairman of Finance and Economic Committee of the Council of Governors, confirmed that counties will only
pay those who are working and those absent for good reasons like study leave.

“Counties will only pay those on the ground which we are trying to establish through a headcount as well as those absent for good reasons like study leave,” he said
in a telephone interview.

The Devolution ministry is said to have collated the numbers from all the ministries which it then forwarded to the counties.

To facilitate the payments, the ministry has installed the integrated payroll and personal database (IPPD) system in all the 47 counties and 291 officers trained on how to manage the payroll.

According to the ministry, the counties have confirmed they are using the system and now have the capacity to manage the payroll.

The transfer of the first batch of workers in December caused a furore with most counties reporting many of those transferred were ghost workers.

The Nairobi City County — which was among the most
affected — received 5,334 workers for the devolved functions which included health, agriculture, pre-
school education and wildlife. The cost of the payroll was established to be Sh6.4 billion per year.

Following a head count conducted by the Governor, Dr Evans Kidero, only 2,900 people were found to be
working while about 2,400 people could not be accounted for despite being in the payroll.

The ministry of Health for instance moved 4,300 health workers to Nairobi but only 2,130 were found to be working on the ground.

Via Nation Newspaper

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