Wanga pays employees through cheques in push to weed out ghost workers

Homa Bay County employees

Some of the 2,192 Homa Bay County employees who showed up at the governor's office to collect cheques for January salaries. The new system of paying salaries is meant to weed out ghost workers.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group

Workers in Homa Bay have begun receiving cheques for their January pay in a move county claims is aimed at eliminating ghost workers.

Up to 2,192 employees are expected to get their salaries through the new system.

The workers were instructed to report to the governor's office on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get their pay.

In an Internal memo to all staff, County Secretary Bernard Muok said the system would help in the ongoing human resources audit.

Employees who are being paid through this method are those who do not have personal numbers, those who are currently in the manual payroll system or not in the integrated payroll personnel database.

They are required to present a number of personal documents to collect their January salaries, including letters of arrival at the workstation, confirmation, promotion if any, interdiction or suspension, certified education and professional certificates and salary account details.

In the memo dated February 10, Prof Muok said the exercise will be carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, assisted by supervisors and human resource officers from the county.

"This is to notify staff without personnel numbers who are currently in the manual payroll or not in the integrated payroll personnel database that their January 2023 salaries will be paid by way of cheques," read the notice.

Any cheque or payments that will not be collected within the specified days will be forfeited.

All county staff who will be involved in the process were asked to cooperate and provide the consultants with any information they may require.

"Should you have any questions, feel free to contact the County Secretary directly or through your immediate supervisors," said the notice.

Meanwhile, Prof Muok has appealed to other workers to report people who have been earning from the county treasury but who do not offer any services to the devolved unit.

The information is supposed to be shared in confidence.

Prof Muok said what he needs includes people who earn salaries but who do not exist in county records, people who earn but do not consistently show up at work and those who know they were recruited irregularly.

Workers were told to share the information via WhatsApp, text message, or email to the Human Resource department and the firm conducting staff census.

"Collection and processing of the information above will be handled independently by PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd — the appointed HR and personnel census auditors — to guarantee confidentiality," Prof Muok said.

Governor Gladys Wanga said the county spends more than half of its budget to pay salaries, leaving little money for development.

Homa Bay County gets at least Sh7 billion annually from the National Treasury.

Ms Wanga said she believes money is getting lost through areas that should be sealed.

The problem, she said, was brought about by corrupt public service board members who regularly hired people.

"We hope to eliminate all ghost workers and put money in areas that are important," Ms Wanga said.