Kenya targets ‘ghost workers’

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation at Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi, 1 June 2014Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to make the public service more efficient

Kenya has started biometrically registering all civil servants in an attempt to remove “ghost workers” from the government’s payroll.

Employees who failed to register over the next two weeks would no longer be paid, a government statement said.

The government suspects that thousands of people continue to receive salaries after leaving the civil service.

President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to curb corruption in the public service after taking office in 2013.

The authorities estimate they lose at least $116,000 (£70,000) a month in payments to “ghost workers”, but the exact figure is not known, reports the BBC’s Wanyama Chebusiri from the capital, Nairobi.

The government suspects that salaries continue to be deposited into bank accounts, even after a person dies or leaves the public service, he adds.

All public servants are required to present themselves over the next two weeks at identification centres to ensure their data was captured through the biometric registration exercise, a government statement said.

Anyone who failed to do so without a valid excuse would be eliminated from the payroll, it said.

“This exercise will contribute significantly to the rationalization of the public service by determining the actual numbers of public servants and will also be used to cleanse the payroll at both levels of Government- hence bring a stop to the issue of ‘ghost workers’,” said Anne Waiguru, the cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.