, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 20 – The Cabinet has ordered for investigations into government officers and, ‘outsiders’ who colluded in the inclusion of 12,000 ghost workers in government payrolls.
The Criminal Investigation Department, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Banking Fraud Investigations Unit were charged with the task at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
“Cabinet directed the immediate investigations following revelations in the just concluded Human Resource Audit, under the Capacity Assessment and Rationalisation in the Public Service (CARPS) programme, that there were in excess of 12,000 staff who were unaccounted for at conclusion of the exercise,” a press statement read.
On Monday, Cabinet Secretary for Devolution Anne Waiguru said the suspected ghost workers had been struck off the payroll.
The CARPS biometric registration of public servants which kicked off in September was one of the measures undertaken by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government in response to a burgeoning wage bill and to free up more money for development projects.
The Kenya County Government Workers Union which had challenged the biometric registration of public servants has however threatened to sue the Cabinet Secretary for acting in contempt of court by striking out workers from the payroll.
“The honourable court under petition no 270 of 2014 directed that a conservatory order be issued prohibiting all respondents from carrying out any duties of biometric data capturing of members of the petitioners who are workers of county governments named as respondents until the law is complied with,” the union’s General Secretary stated on Wednesday.
Aside from ordering investigations into the registration of these workers, Cabinet on Thursday also resolved to double the external debt ceiling from Sh1.2 trillion to Sh2.5 trillion.
“In this regard, Cabinet approved the forwarding of the proposal to Parliament for approval pursuant to Section 50(2) of the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, 2012.”
The government has previously explained that the increase in external borrowing is necessitated by its ambitious infrastructural development undertakings.
But the Council of Governors accused the national government of ‘wild borrowing,’ only two days prior.
The increased external borrowing has also been criticised by opposition leader Raila Odinga. “I’ve heard it said that the Jubilee government has borrowed more in one year than we did under the coalition government.”