Long queues in post offices across the country towards the tail end of each month are common occurrences. On those queues that last for several days are old men and women; some frail, some sick while others look gloomy. All are hoping to get their pension dues, but it has never been easy for many of them.
In yet another damning report about wastage in public financing, the Auditor General’s office has detailed how Sh67 billion meant for pensioners has been expropriated through fraudulent means. The colossal sum of money was paid out to individuals who are not entitled to any pension payment, and to others whose identities are doubtful.
While retired workers who depend solely on their pension payments find it exceedingly difficult to make ends meet in an economy that does not favour the less financially endowed, Treasury paid out Sh1.6 billion to 962 workers still in employment, hence drawing salaries.
Workers whose employment terms are not permanent and pensionable received a total of Sh492 million without a valid explanation being offered. In another case, 349 individuals were irregularly enrolled in the pension system and paid Sh556 million. Sh44 billion was given to claimants with irregular or lacking personal identification numbers as is the requirement. Sh21 billion was given to claimants with shared bank accounts and Sh152 million was wired to people with shared identity card numbers.
In a nutshell, these irregular payments are indicative of an elaborate scheme at the highest levels of the public service and the Treasury to defraud genuine pensioners through payment of pension to ghost workers.
By now, given the number of corruption cases and the amount of money lost through it, ordinary citizens are convinced Kenya is in the grip of cartels operating at the highest levels of Government. This explains their courage and ability to evade justice
Despite numerous reports by the Auditor General regarding high-level sleaze in Government, there is little to show that action is being taken to plug existing loopholes for siphoning public funds.
We appeal to the conscience of the cartels to let retired workers enjoy their meagre pension in the remaining years of their lives, having toiled so hard for decades in the Civil Service.
Unscrupulous individuals consigning pensioners to early graves through conspiracies should be brought to book.