Errors in TSC payroll put doubts on bid to recover Sh47 million


A sample of a payroll form. [Getty Images]

The Teachers Service Commission may not recover some Sh47 million in overpaid salaries, an audit report has shown.

Analysis by the Office of the Auditor General of the payroll for the 2021/2022 financial year revealed that there were 85 teachers with outstanding overpayment balances amounting to Sh47,352,946.

But of concern to the Auditor’s office, is that the outstanding repayment period will exceed their retirement age of 60 by the end of the contract period.

“Therefore, recovery of the overpayment is in doubt. Further, the commission management did not provide for audit a strategy for the recovery of the overpayments beyond the retirement period,” the Auditor’s report reads.

On Tuesday, Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia was hard-pressed by MPs while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee to explain how the overpayment occurred and the measures put in place to recover the money.

Dr Macharia explained that the commission is limited to deducting only a third of a teacher’s salary in the recovery of the overpayment. “The monthly recovery rate for overpayment is a 1/3 of the basic salary of the employee as per Section 19 (3) of the Employment Act, 2007,” she said.

Upon retirement, she noted that the recovery of any outstanding overpayment is drawn from pensions. “The commission has an agreement with the Secretary of pension to recover any government liability from the pension of a retired teacher upon authorisation by the teacher in writing,” she indicated.

She said should there be a pending balance after the pension is exhausted, the money is recovered from the retired teacher personally or from the estate if the teacher is deceased.

Finer details into the audit of the payroll system further revealed glaring discrepancies. The report highlights that a comparison of the National Identification (ID) numbers in the teachers’ payroll against the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Database (IPPD) for Ministries, Directorates and Agencies reflects that there were 24 employees earning salaries in two entities in the same month.

However, Dr Macharia termed the duplication an error that was corrected in November 2021. “Teacher Management Information system (TMIS) data, the 24 teachers are correctly on the Commission’s payroll,” she told MPs.

The Auditor General assessment also shows one Identification Number, was both in the teachers’ and secretariat payrolls but with different name. The said ID number had received two salaries amounting to Sh1,520,192 and Sh485,545 for the secretariat and teachers’ payrolls respectively.

This means the said officer received salary as a teacher and as an official of TSC secretariat. Further review of payroll for the month of June, 2022 revealed 79 employees with similar names, similar bank account numbers but different payroll numbers. 

These accounts had been credited Sh4,263,212. But Dr Macharia argued that this is no cause for alarm as the bank accounts are in order.

She said some employees provide details for joint accounts operated by spouses while others provide details for remittance of salary through the church.