How Ghost Workers Made Away With Ksh 384M Govt Money

Kenyan Currency notes.
A photo of sample Kenyan currency notes.

An introspection by the Human Resource department of the Vihiga County government has brought to light the plunder of ghost workers. They have earned Ksh 32 million every month in the past financial year.

A drafted report by the County Public Service Board shows that 426 employees were neither present nor accounted for at their various work stations.

Preceding this report was a probe into the county expenditure on internal audits. Public monies spent for these processes amounted to Ksh 69.5 million in the last 4 years. Members of Vihiga County Assembly question Governor Ottichilo about authorizing such spending of public funds despite the already huge wage bill.

Currently, the wage bill stands at Ksh1.3 billion, compared to last year's accrual of Ksh763.4 million in May 2020. A number of human resource auditing firms were contracted from 2018 to authenticate and report on internal operations.

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo pictured at a Council of Governors (CoG) meeting at Mövenpick Hotel, Nairobi on January 20, 2020
Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo pictured at a Council of Governors (CoG) meeting at Mövenpick Hotel, Nairobi on January 20, 2020
Simon Kiragu

Out of 426 missing members of staff, only 331 are enlisted on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Database (IPPD), a system used by the government to provide reliable data on public workers’ wages and salaries. On the other hand, 95 members of staff are on a manual payroll.

Only 637 workers availed themselves on the audit. Nonetheless, none of them was neither on the IPPD payroll nor the manual payroll. However, they were said to be mostly contracted on a temporary and contractual basis by May 2020, according to the CPBS report. This factor further questioned the county’s processes of systemization despite high costs of internal scrutinisation.

In addition to the above financial inadequacies, the audit unleashed a plethora of discoveries including institutional discrepancies and lack of academic qualifications within the county workforce.

Devolution seems to have been applied only to a certain degree given that over 50% of the workforce hails from one sub-county whereas it is a region with five. 67% of workers are from Vihiga Sub-county leaving a smaller percentage of positions to persons from Emuhaya, Hamisi, Sabatia and Luanda sub-counties as well as persons from other counties.

According to Nation,11 members of staff have achieved doctoral status, 65 have a postgraduate master’s degree while 323 have undergraduate degree certifications. In addition to that, there are 973 diploma holders while 386 staff of Vihiga County Government have attained college certificates.

The county’s health department has the highest wage at Ksh85 million per month as recurrent expenditure. Nonetheless, doctors who haven't been paid in 2 years are set to begin receiving remuneration following the recent disbursement of Ksh43 billion to counties, including Vihiga.

A photo of Vihiga County headquarters in Mbale Town
Vihiga County headquarters located in Mbale Town.
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