A payroll audit ordered by Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama, aimed at sacking employees who were irregularly employed, has exposed a massive rot in the county government’s staffing system.
The names of several boda-boda riders and M-Pesa agents were discovered on the county payroll following the audit.
Employees are now in a panic after the governor earlier this week suspended more than 1,000 of his staff in his quest to restore sanity to the payroll.
The report also showed that retired employees still appeared on the payroll while others who had been dismissed earned salaries.
The audit report discovered that most of the affected staff had fraudulently acquired their jobs with some paying up to Sh100, 000 to secure employment.
The report also showed that retired employees still appeared in the payroll while others who had been dismissed earned salaries.
About a month ago, Mr Nyagarama picked the County Public Service Management Executive Mr Bernard Osumo and Deputy Governor – Amos Nyaribo to chair a payroll audit committee which he had formed.
“Those affected will not receive salaries. We are investigating further to expose ghost workers,” said Mr Nyagarama.
In April this year, Mr Nyagarama sent all senior payroll officers to a compulsory three months leave as he sought to weed out staff employed irregularly.
He also announced the termination of contracts for at least 500 Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) teachers by end of May 2019. There are currently 1,351 ECDE teachers in the county, a number the governor says is too high.
The latest report by the Auditor General indicates that din the 2018/2019 financial year, the county executive recruited 532 staff, a majority who were early childhood development education teachers and nurses under the department of education and department of health, respectively.
According to the audit findings, the county continued to employ staff despite cautions on the ballooning wage bill caused by a bloated staff, eating into development money.
The Governor has warned that county officers involved in irregular hiring will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
But it will be a wait and see case given that the many promises the governor has made before with regard to the bloated workforce are yet to be fulfilled. The political ramifications of such decisions are grave to his political career and this may have made him too reluctant to implement.
Last month, Nyagarama’s deputy had written to the Public Service Board claiming that some staff were hired without due process, and called for the nullification of more than 400 positions.
“Whereas some of the recruits have already been included in the payroll, nobody admits openly to be involved in these processes, including the Public Service Board, County Secretary and Directorate of Human Resource,” he added.
The cadres affected are mostly the support staff and enforcement officers.
According to Mr Nyaribo, there have been unauthorised illegal employment taking place secretly since the beginning of 2018 to date.
“Whereas some of the recruits have already been included in the payroll, nobody admits openly to be involved in these processes including the Public Service Board, County Secretary and Directorate of Human Resource,” he added.
He further said the illegal employments point to a mystery and sabotage of government development agenda and operations, since the employment was not budgeted for or requisitioned by any department.
The county government has employed over 4,500 workers and there are concerns from some locals of a high wage bill which has eaten into development funds.
Governor Nyagarama ordered a staff audit programme in 2018, but the exercise was later politicised and it did not bear the intended purpose.
Following the audit, 24 Nyamira County workers were suspended in what executives termed as an act of cleansing the payroll system.
The affected workers had been receiving over payment of salaries robbing the county about Sh1.2 million monthly in total.
In April, the governor asked all enforcement officers, senior and junior support staff were asked to present themselves at the Sub county officers for verification and validation of their employment documents to a special team appointed by the governor.
The payroll manager Mr Lewis Oburu and his other team members among them James Nyagechanga, Ann Ontiri and Josephat Nyamweya were directed to proceed to a three months leave pending the audit of the payroll.