A biometric staff audit has revealed that Nakuru County government loses Sh26 million annually to ghost workers.
According to the audit report released on Thursday, 23 employees were not accounted for and have been taking home Sh26 million annually as salaries and benefits.
The report was handed over to Governor Lee Kinyanjui by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the firm contracted to conduct the audit early this year.
Mr Kinyanjui directed that the employees be removed immediately from the payroll to pave way for investigations.
“The county has initiated investigations and will take legal action on this matter,” said Mr Kinyanjui.
He said the county undertook a biometric staff audit as it needs the right workforce to deliver.
Nakuru has been grappling with a ballooning wage bill of about Sh5.2 billion.
"We have 48 per cent of employees who are aged over 50 years meaning they will retire in the next 10 years. We will work on succession to avoid any gaps that will affect service delivery," he said.
The governor said the county is investing in systems to ensure compliance in payment of rates through use of technology as opposed to employing more enforcement officers.
“There are departments with acting officers. However, the county will train employees and also engage in capacity building to ensure the staff deliver on their mandate.
"There are 63 staff on suspension. Their cases will be discussed in the next 14 days so that they can either return to work or exit," he said.
The county boss disclosed that redundant jobs, such as rat catchers that were created during the municipal system, will be scrapped and staff reallocated duties.
Staff in the agriculture department will redeployed as the audit report indicates that most of them are in urban areas while their expertise is needed in sub-counties, he said.
He said more engineers and surveyors will be employed in the roads department to ensure quality work.
The county will also employ a county attorney, solicitor and a team of lawyers, to avoid the high legal fees paid to lawyers.