A staff audit commissioned by Kitui Governor Dr. Julius Malombe has unearthed a total of 935 ghost workers in the Kitui County Government.
The audit conducted by the Kitui County Human Resource and Staff Rationalization committee headed by Dr. Florence Muinde, included a physical headcount of all the County staff.
935 employees did not show up for the employment validation process, therefore they are being considered by the committee as ghost workers. The 935 were given a two months period within which to present themselves before the committee but they never did. The committee could not extend the period because their time for the exercise was also ending then.
According to the report which was handed over to Governor Malombe, out of the 935 ghost workers, 326 are recorded as permanent and pensionable employees, 23 are contractual, 56 ECDE teachers and are 530 casuals.
The report further noted that, the County Public Service Board (CPSB) recruited 592 employees without evidence of accompanying requests and affirmation of the availability of funds for Personnel Emoluments from the relevant Chief Officers.
The committee reported that 34 officers across different cadres were also appointed into positions without meeting the minimum requirements as per the career progression guidelines and advertisement to declare the vacancies.
In the report, it was disclosed that 13 officers were appointed and they were not in longlist or shortlist but appeared for interviews. Eighteen officers were also promoted without the requisite qualifications.
The report further disclosed that 72 health professionals were on study leave including 5 medical doctors who were on study leave beyond the approved duration.
The committee spelt out that officers were redesignated without their consent which may be construed to be punishment to the officers.
In the report, the committee recommended that arbitrary engagement of casuals and wage payments by departments without approval from the CPSB ceases forthwith.
The committee also recommended that the salaries of the 935 ghost workers to stop forthwith.
It also recommended that the county initiates measures to recover any irregular payments made to staff.
Further, the commission suggested that remedial action be taken against employees who through their acts of commission or omission led to grim malpractices in the management of the county payroll.
Governor Malombe while speaking when he received the report said he will follow all human resource procedures to implement the report.
“We will implement this report. Where immediate action is supposed to be taken, we will. Let’s also not forget that we must follow due diligence, fairness and justice,” said the County boss.
Current and recent past reports prepared between the year 2020 and year 2022 by Auditor General expressed concerns over high wage bill of Kitui County which is over 40 percent, beyond the set ceiling of up to 35 percent as recommended across all the 47 counties in the Country.
According to the two reports, the high wage bills was consuming funds meant for development projects, negatively impacting on development of the County.
The Auditor General reports also has points on misappropriation of the County funds. It recommended that the Kitui County Government reduces its wage bill, and gives room for punishment of officers or individuals behind the misappropriation of the County funds.
Kitui County residents who graced the ceremony and got the staff audit report, while speaking to KNA were optimistic that with the two reports; the staff audit report commissioned by the Kitui Governor Dr. Julius Malombe and the Auditor General reports, action will be taken.
By Denson Mututo and Rita Wangui