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Report shows 'dead workers' in Mombasa still on payroll

By Patrick Beja and Stanley Mwahanga

Mombasa, Kenya: Confusion continues to stalk the vetting of former Mombasa municipal council amid the persistent strike that has paralysed service delivery.

A preliminary report by a private audit firm claims there are over 1400 ghost workers in the payroll and that ‘dead workers’ are still “receiving” salaries.

The report indicates that some workers have been receiving salaries three times a month.

The audit firm was contracted by the Mombasa County government and commissioned by Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) to unearth the fake employees who have reportedly put a strain on the wage bill, which stands at Sh161 million a month.

Muhuri has funded the vetting to the tune of Sh3 million and hopes the audit will weed out all ghost employees to ensure a lean and manageable payroll.

There is confusion over the possible number of ghost workers as the audit takes shape.

According to Mombasa governor Hassan Ali Joho, a preliminary report forwarded to his office showed that at least 1,032 workers had questionable employment status.

Joho said although the rot was still under probe, it has been observed that some workers who were transferred from the council years ago were still receiving salaries.

He said the preliminary report indicates there were 31 employees being paid twice monthly without being detected by the former council chief officers.

“We are still waiting for the final report,” said Joho.

County secretary for Finance Walid Khalid asked residents to be patient as the exercise continues.

“The turnout has been good because even the workers on strike have gone for vetting. We will know the truth soon,” Walid said.

He said after the vetting, they expect a change of attitude among the former council workers who have defied orders of the industrial court, their employer and union to end the strike.

“There is no respect for the employer among the former council workers. We insist on dealing with only genuine staff who are disciplined,” he said.

Muhuri executive director Khalid Hussein said the organisation funded the audit for the former council workers to try to lower the huge wage bill which indicated that on average each worker was paid Sh60, 000 a month.

“By carrying out the audit, we can save the county government a lot of money that is being paid to ghost workers. The money can be allocated to development projects,” he noted.