Nandi County sacks six revenue officers over fraud

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Six Nandi County Revenue officers have been suspended for engaging in fraud as the devolved unit moves to boost its revenue generation.

The officers from the Finance Department were sacked by county Finance Minister Hilary Serem after Governor Stephen Sang directed him to streamline the department and ensure rogue revenue officers are kicked out.

A letter dated November 29, 2022 and signed by the new Finance CEC, stated in part “the suspended County Revenue officers were found engaging in fraud and have been suspended with immediate effect while investigations have been started on their conduct.”

Members of the public have been asked to report cases of misconduct from county staff to the government while the Business owners were asked to ensure they are issued with genuine receipts upon making payment to the county.

Governor Stephen Sang has ordered for staff Head Count and last month he suspended five officers working in the payroll in the Human Resource after he discovered the number of employees were over 7000 while official’s record tabled at the county Assembly indicated the county had a total of 5107 staff.

The issue of ghost workers has split the county government with former County Governor Dr Cleophas Lagat denied claims that his administration had ridden with ghost workers that cost taxpayer's billions of money.

Following the recent auditor General report, it revealed that between 2013 and 2017, the county government lost Sh. 12 Billion which claimed that it was paid to the employees who could not be accounted for by the administration.

The immediate former County Secretary Francis Ominde, dismissed the audit information and claimed that the report was not based on the facts as recorded in the central government treasury for five years.

He stated that the county government had a manageable wage bill and the reports that the Nandi county had 300 ghost workers is intended to mudsling the name of the former county boss for political purposes.

Mr Ominde explained that during the five years in office Nandi county under Governor Lagat received accumulatively Sh16.5 billion of which Sh3 billion was allocated to Nandi county assembly.

The Executive Spent Sh13 billion for five years. The Governor and his Deputy earned Sh650,000 and 580,000 respectively per Month while county Ministers were earning less than Sh250,000 per month.

“There were no ghost workers as claimed by the media reports. The information circulating is totally misleading the public and as the official who was in charge of the human resource and County Secretary, I want to tell the public to ignore and treat it with the contempt it deserves,' he said.

In 2017 when Dr Lagat lost the gubernatorial race to Governor Stephen Sang, he said that the county had staff close to 3, 000 before it shot to over 5, 107 employees in the current administration.

“The financial challenges facing Nandi County on the cost of ghost workers should not be blamed on the former regime. We had a well remunerated staff and unlike the current administration where the workers wait for months for their salaries to be paid,” he said.

The Nandi county assembly in 2019 raised arms over a bloated wage bill that consumed about 52 percent of the county government annual allocations and put the executive on notice over the rapidly growing population of the employees.

The county assembly noted members of the public in Nandi have suffered in key development projects since most of the allocation from Nairobi went into paying of salaries for county staff whom the assembly wanted reduced from 5107 to less than 3500 workers to have funds for flagship projects.

Dr Francis Sang, the county secretary, admitted before the MCAs that the county is spending over Sh350 million annually on the salaries, claiming to have slowed the rolling out of the county development projects as since the annual majorly goes to paying salaries.

“Members please bear with us as executive deliberate on the matter. It will take a little bit long to address the matter for once and for all and Governor Stephen Sang is committed to have the members of the public get quality service and value of their money from the National government,” said Dr Sang.

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