Two suspects charged in Siaya ghost workers syndicate

Sources say more than 100 influential people involved.

In Summary

• Syndicate allegedly syphoned millions of county funds every month. 

• Staff audit conducted; now all employees must collect paycheques in person. 

Siaya High Court signpost.
THIS WAY TO JUSTICE: Siaya High Court signpost.

Two suspects in the Siaya ghost workers syndicate that allegedly stole millions from county coffers every month were arraigned on Monday.

The two — Harald Omondi, who works in the county payroll department, and boda boda operator Dennis Odhiambo — are facing five charges of dipping their hands into the county coffers.

Omondi and Odhiambo have been accused of swindling Sh1.3 million from the county government.

Omondi denied charges of abuse of office, corruption, conspiracy to swindle public funds, among others.

The charge sheet said Omondi fraudulently included Odhiambo on the county payroll and he has been earning a monthly salary of more than Sh100,000.

The scheme was unravelled by the police when they took a loan of Sh1.3 million from the county government, leading to their arrests.

The Siaya law court referred the case to the Kisumu Anti-Corruption Court.

So far police have only arrested Omondi, Odhiambo and the Siaya payroll manager Vincent Oburu, who is yet to be presented in court.

Oburu was arrested on Friday and released on a cash bail of Sh100,000. It was not clear why he was presented in court on Monday.

The county has conducted a staff audit to determine ghost workers — mostly deceased, retired or resigned —and now issues all paychecks to employees in person.

Sources in the county government said the ghost workers syndicate in Siaya involves more than 100 influential people who are yet to be arrested. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

One source disclosed a person whose PF number was used to pay more than 100 ghost workers has not been touched.

The source spoke of the architected of all ghost workers on the payroll.

Of the Siaya ghost workers, 70 per cent are from the department of Health while 30 per cent are distributed in various departments.

Governor Cornell Rasanga has warned that everyone will carry their own cross if found culpable.

He said that during his last term he is determined to have a clean legacy and he will not tolerate anyone tainting his image through corruption.

(Edited by V. Graham)