Migori County pays Sh7, 545,643 a month to ghost workers, an internal audit has revealed.The report unveiled on Thursday by Governor Okoth Obado states that 267 of the 3,345 employees listed in the payroll did not exist.
"This means these employees are in the payroll illegally and have been earning millions of shillings for free each month and yet they do not work here," said Mr Obado.
The headcount count also showed huge discrepancies in allowances, with some employees getting paid more than what is stipulated for their job groups.
According to the findings, some employees have been paid special and extraneous allowances while on duty outside their work stations.
In total, the audit revealed a Sh2, 031,753 discrepancy in allowances drawn by county employees among other payment irregularities every month.
Others who had left the county administration were still in the payroll.
The report also showed that some workers who used to work in the defunct municipal and county councils in Rongo, Awendo, Uriri, Migori and Kehancha were still in the county payroll. Some had even died.
Obado said the audit would save the county up to Sh90 million a year that has been going to unaccounted for workers.
He ordered a freeze on any further payments to the ghost workers and promised to establish a committee to investigate the matter further.
"We are going to probe the matter further. Cashiers and paymasters found liable for the anomalies will be held to account. These acts must be brought to an end," he said.
The governor also ordered a freeze on irregular allowances.
"We have suspended the allowances forthwith and recommended those indicted to be surcharged," he said.
He ordered that officers who had promoted themselves to higher job groups to qualify for certain allowances step aside to pave the way for investigations.
He put on hold a number of allowances pending investigations.
These include acting, special housing, risk, extraneous and health workers' uniform allowances.
Some 859 employees were found to be drawing allowances above their entitlement.
Some 27 employees were also found to be earning allowances for unspecified meetings out of the county.
"We shall follow up these matters case by case to ensure that the suspects are held to account," said Obado.
He added that those found guilty would be surcharged, arrested and prosecuted.
The audit also found that some workers were hired on the basis of forged documents, while others were unknown to their supervisors.
According to the governor, the ghost workers took advantage of those who had left without giving notice, unreported deaths, unexplained desertions and undocumented transfers done before devolution to sneak into the payroll.
The governor declared war on graft in the county.
“I want to condemn wastage of taxpayers' money on fictitious deals. These are acts that must be brought to an end. My government will ensure all money irregularly paid out is recovered,” he said.