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Economy

City Hall adopts biometrics to lock out ghost workers

From left: Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko,  ICT secretary Joe Mucheru, and Deputy President William Ruto during the launch of the county data centre, Dec 11, 2017. photo | kanyiri wahito | nmg
From left: Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, ICT secretary Joe Mucheru, and Deputy President William Ruto during the launch of the county data centre, Dec 11, 2017. photo | kanyiri wahito | nmg 

Nairobi county workers will be identified by biometrics in a fresh attempt to lock out ‘ghost workers’ and reduce the wage bill burden.

The workers will have their names in the systems and given badges that will be used to open the recently biometric doors —which uses fingerprint reader to unlock entrances.

ICT executive Charles Kerich said that the technology will enable to weed out ghost workers who have been illegally getting millions of money from the devolved unit.

“We will have all the workers identified and their details put in the system then get them badges to open the doors as currently at City Hall people walk in and out and you cannot tell if they are employees,” said Mr Kerich during the launch of the county’s data centre.

An earlier audit revealed that more than Sh100 million every month in salaries was paid to more than 2,000 ghost workers.

A large segment of the ghost workers is made of serving employees who are accused of conspiring with human resource and accounts department to earn multiple salaries through multiple entries in the payroll.

The audit found that some workers appear on the payroll up to five times using the same names but different identity card numbers. There is also a large number of retired or deceased employees in payroll who continued to draw salaries. A small number of the ghost workers was found to be living abroad.

City Hall is also bloated with an unskilled and ageing workforce that has seen the wage bill balloon to Sh1.1 billion a month.

In a county with more than 14,000 workers, 8,400 attained primary education with only 240 or less than two per cent comprising engineers and architects said to be professionals.

Mr Kerich said that the data centre will be the backbone of all of ICT as it will host the county’s servers.

“This project that was funded by World Bank stalled in 2015, but in the last three weeks we have installed and activated our systems which will be launched today,” said Mr Kerich. The centre will control CCTV cameras, biometric doors, wifi, emails and host the e-jiji pay-online platform used to collect revenue.

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