Kiraitu launches payroll clean-up to weed out 1,780 ghost workers

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, deputy governor Titus Ntuchiu (L) and other county staff arrive at Thiiri Centre in Imenti North, Meru for an employees' meeting on January 6, 2018. /GERALD MUTETHIA
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, deputy governor Titus Ntuchiu (L) and other county staff arrive at Thiiri Centre in Imenti North, Meru for an employees' meeting on January 6, 2018. /GERALD MUTETHIA

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi on Saturday announced that 1,783 ghost workers the county has been paying will be weeded out of the payroll.

He said the group is to blame for the county's bloated wage bill which takes up as much as 70 per cent of monies disbursed to the devolved unit.

Kiraitu said there are 500 staff members who were recruited and over 600 others promoted during the 2017 electioneering period.

He said this during a staff meeting at Thiiri Centre in Imenti North, Meru.

"About Sh40 million was paid to 10 members of staff especially sub-county and ward administrators in imprest between January and August 2017, some not surrendered to date."

"Skills analysis show that only (17) seventeen per cent of staff have University degrees. There is serious skills mismatch, some senior staff members are performing duties they were not recruited for," Kiraitu said.

He said this was revealed in preliminary findings of a human resource and financial audit report by Deloitte Consulting Ltd.

The official report and its recommendations will be released on January 15.

"We are confronted by a very ugly staff reality. We have inherited bloated, overstaffed and overlapping structures, sometimes manned by incompetent, irresponsible, absent, lethargic, underpaid and demoralised staff, " the county chief said.

He added that by end of October 2017, over 5, 822 persons were employed of which 4,601 are on a permanent basis while 1,030 are casuals.

"Our total wage bill is about Sh 7 billion out of total revenue of about Sh 9 billion. When the headcount was done, 1,783 employees did not show up."

"I believe most of them are ghost workers. There has been illegal, irregular and erratic recruitment, postings, disciplining, promotion and redeployment of staff," he added.

Kiraitu said he is surprised to learn that the county has a workforce of 2,827 females compared to only 1,776 male employees.

He said over 2,000 employees are above 40 years-old and in regard, his administration will embark on recruiting youths in his administration.

The governor, however, maintained that there will be no witch-hunt, punishment or victimisation of individuals in the payroll clean-up and staff rationalisation.