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Kenya: Vihiga Ghost Workers Earn Sh32m Every Month, Report Reveals

Ghost workers in Vihiga County are earning Sh32 million every month, an audit of the human resources department has revealed.

A report by the County Public Service Board (CPSB) shows about 426 employees could not be traced at their duty stations during the audit.

The report comes as members of the Vihiga County Assembly question why Governor Wilber Ottichilo administration spent at least Sh69.5 million on staff audits in the last four years, even with a high wage bill.

According to a select committee, the county government contracted human resource audits on different dates by the Directorate of Personnel Management (DPM) and a consulting firm identified as EMS THAMANA LIMITED.

DPM is domiciled in the Office of the President and was invited to the county in 2018 by Governor Ottichilo, while EMS THAMANA LIMITED is a private consultancy firm that was offered the tender by the department of Public Service.

In the CPSB report, out of the 426 employees, 331 are on the IPPD payroll while the remaining 95 are on the manual payroll.

More investigation

“This implies that 21.2 per cent of employees who are on both payrolls were not audited and hence require more investigation,” CPSB says in the report it has submitted to the county assembly.

Further, the CPSB says 637 individuals turned up for the audit exercise and produced evidence of employment but could not be traced on both the manual and IPPD payrolls by the time of the audit in May 2020.

They are, however, earning as casuals, contracted and permanent staff.

“There is a need for further investigation on departmental recognition of the affected employees before a resolution is made,” the report reads.

It also emerged that some of the employees are earning huge salaries.

On Tuesday, Governor Ottichilo said the county executive and CPSB will work together to conclude the unending staff audits that have gobbled up at least Sh69.5 million.

This comes after the county assembly queried the high wage bill that now stands at Sh1.3 billion, up from Sh763.4 million in May 2020.

Dr Ottichilo agreed that the human resource audits that are intended to tame the rising wage bill have taken long to conclude.

“We (the executive) shall, in collaboration with the County Public Service Board, finalise and implement the county human resource audit exercise that has taken a long to complete,” Dr Ottichilo said.

The audit also revealed an imbalance in hiring after it emerged that a bigger percentage of the more than 2,000 workers come from Vihiga sub-county.

The CPSB report shows that of the 2,208 workers, 1,031 are from Vihiga sub-sounty to the disadvantage of the other four sub-counties.

Ghost workers

Further, the audit revealed that ghost workers are earning Sh32 million in salaries every month. The report submitted to the county assembly says the 1,031 people from Vihiga sub-county form 67.82 per cent of the entire county government workforce.

Luanda Sub-county has the least number of people employed by the county government. Only 39 people, a paltry 2.56 per cent, from the constituency are county workers.

Some 169 (11.1 per cent) are from Emuhaya, while Sabatia and Hamisi have 143 (9.4 per cent) and 138 (9.07 per cent).

The report revealed that 590 (26.7 per cent) of the county’s staff come from outside the devolved unit. On education, only 11 staff hold doctoral degrees, 65 have master’s while 323 have bachelor’s degree qualifications. Diploma holders are 973 while 386 have college certificates.

No academic certificates

The report also shows 291 staff only reached Form Fourl, 75 hold only the primary certificate while 84 others did not present any academic certificates during the audit conducted last year. Vihiga County spends Sh138.9 million every month on salaries.

In the report, the Health department pays the highest amount in salaries, Sh85.3 million, per month.

This is expected to rise after Governor Ottichilo announced that his government will start paying the salaries of 528 other health workers who have gone without pay for two years.

The lands department is the least spender on salaries. It spends Sh970,258 every month. The CPSB report revealed that some of the employees are not on the payroll.