The recently finalised payroll audit report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has exposed a number of ghost workers masquerading as civil servants, it has been established.
Secretary to the Treasury (ST) Ronald Mangani confirmed in an interview on Wednesday that government is already deleting the ghost workers from the system.
He said: “I wish to confirm that I am in receipt of the preliminary headcount report produced by the National Audit Office. Since this is preliminary, it is being subjected to further scrutiny to firm up the numbers.
“As such, I am not in a position to share the report findings until this process is finalised. Meanwhile, action is already being taken on the proportion of very clear cases of ghost workers that the report has unequivocally established. Naturally, we are deleting these from the payroll without delay.”
His remarks come against the background of Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development interdicting 75 civil servants working in different departments, including finance, research and administration for giving themselves bloated salaries.
Earlier this year, 63 officers from the Ministry of Health were also suspended for allegedly embezzling project funds meant for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) HIV and Aids project. CDC is an agency of the United States of America government.
Late last year, five employees from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development were also arrested for allegedly siphoning K47 million in public coffers through creation of a chain of ghost workers.
In a separate interview, Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya defended the massive arrests amid government proclamations that the Public Finance Management system, whose porosity led to the plunder of public funds in what was termed Cashgate in 2013, has been sealed.
He said the fact that officers were being netted were an indication the reforms were on course.
But Msowoya said more needs to be done in order to completely deter civil servants from stealing from government.