12,500 workers struck off payroll after vetting snub

More than 12, 500 civil servants were Monday struck off the payroll after they failed to list afresh during the two-month registration exercise that was aimed at weeding out ghost workers.

An inter-governmental committee responsible for the vetting said 160, 012 employees were listed out of the targeted 175, 522 public servants, leaving 12, 510 uncounted for.

“As a way forward…directed the two levels of government to stop the salaries of the 12, 510 who have failed to show up for the exercise with immediate effect,” said a statement jointly signed by Devolution and Planning secretary Anne Waiguru and James Ongwae, the Kisii governor.

The committee also directed the retirement of civil servants above the retirement age of 60 years in the latest drive to cut the ballooning government wage bill.

President Kenyatta launched the drive on September 1, where the government officials were required to present themselves with their original identity cards, letters of first appointment to the service, letters of appointment to the current grade, original academic and professional certificates, duly completed biometric data forms, current pay slips, and birth certificates.

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In addition to the documents, the registration captured each public servant’s signature, fingerprints and photograph. These measures, Ms Waiguru, said would weed out any ghost workers in the various government agencies.

The headcount included ministry staff, county workers and parastatal employees. It was meant to establish whether staff records in the system matched those who would present themselves physically.

The exercise, however, was dogged by a myriad of challenges such as opposition from Cotu, which said the process would end in the sacking of employees through the back-door particularly in the counties.

Registration in six counties was halted due to an Industrial Court order in Kisumu. Lady Justice Hellen Wasilwa’s ruling affected Kakamega, Trans Nzoia, Kisumu, Migori, Bungoma and Busia following a case filed by Kenya County Government Workers Union.

The matter is pending in court.

The government in January disclosed that taxpayers lose an estimated Sh1.8 billion every year in salary payments to non-existent workers in the Civil Service, sparking a public outcry.

The shocking revelation, which was made public by President Uhuru Kenyatta, sent the government back to the drawing board.

The January audit unearthed that the government burns Sh150 million monthly in salaries for workers who are non-existent, dead, retired or sacked, but were still retained in the ballooning State payroll.

To arrest the situation, President Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, in collaboration with the National Treasury, to outsource the services of a consultant to undertake a comprehensive human resource audit and payroll cleansing exercise.

The government also froze all salary reviews. Ms Waiguru said staff registration was part of the measures to better manage its bloated wage bill and drive down staff costs.

A higher wage bill has condemned the Treasury to channel less than 30 per cent of the national budget towards development expenditure, in violation of the Public Finance Management Act.