Baringo County Chief Officer (CO) for Finance Richard Koech has dismissed claims that the county government has in its 2014-15 financial year paid sh272million to ‘Ghost’ workers.
Addressing the Media in Kabarnet town on Monday Koech rubbished an article run by the standard on its Monday 21, 2016 edition that the county treasury was spending the tax payer’s money to pay ‘ghost workers,’ terming the article a total misrepresentation of facts.
He was backed by the Finance Executive Committee Geoffrey Bartenge, Public Service board Chairman Mark Suge, the board secretary Nicholas Chepkoiwo and member Dr Peter Moindi. They were a total of 4,200 staff in the county government without single ‘ghost’ worker.
The author of the story quoted Auditor General Edward Ouko’s report giving breakdown of sh150million paid to nursery school teachers, sh17.2milion to staff under economic stimulus programmes, sh23.million on contract employees, while the newly hired health workers being paid sh13.7million, although they were not captured in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Database (IPPD) system.
Keoch said all the above were county workers who were hired on contract basis awaiting the Council of Governors to accord them job groups, review their job descriptions and determine their basic salaries, before being captured under the IPPD system.
The Auditor General's report states that salaries amounting to Sh272 million were paid outside of the IPPD system. The report warned that the practice may lead to internal control challenges such as double payments and ghost workers.
Koech was however adamant that all payments were above board.
He said the highest number of contracted staff were 1,873 Early Child Development (ECD) teachers and polytechnic tutors , saying “ we need them that is why we opted to retain them as we work out modalities to absorb them permanently with time,” Said Koech
The County finance boss added that already some 630 health workers who were previously serving under Economic Stimulus programme(ESP) before devolution were already on permanent payroll.
He said in fact the auditor General report does not even mention anything to do with ‘ghost’ workers, instead it was just cautioning us on payment of staff outside the IPPD system that some cases of double payment of workers might arise.
But as qualified staff in the finance department, we are always observing caution while handling our staff because once we receive the payrolls every month we double check to confirm our employees’ identities before wiring the money into their respective bank accounts.
“After all sh272million is such a huge amount and at no time will a serious employer dish out that much carelessly to whoever has not sweated for. Not unless someone is trying to portray us negatively in a manner to suggest we are careless, non-professional and not working based on our qualifications in the county government” Said Koech.
The county senior servants were reacting to the injurious report on behalf of Governor Benjamin Cheboi who was away in Morocco on an official duty.