'You have 14 days': Senate reads riot act to governors amid Sh35bn ghost workers scandal

The internal staff and payroll audits have become a routine undertaking by every new county administration that usually reveals how billions of shillings are being looted through non-existent staff.

Photo credit: Andrew Anini | Nation Media Group

The Senate has given governors of counties implicated in a Sh35 billion looting scheme involving ghost workers 14 days to submit their written responses on the scandal as it prepares to summon them for grilling. 

Recent audit reports show that the billions were looted over the years through non-existent staff.

Subsequent probes have often revealed growing theft blamed for the runaway wage bill that has seen counties violate the statutory ceiling on spending on salaries.

Past records show that taxpayers could be parting with as much as half a billion shillings every month to non-existent staff, despite continuous promises by county bosses to streamline their payrolls.

Investigations by some counties and the Auditor-General show that Kenyans could have paid more than Sh35 billion to non-existent staffers since counties were born by the 2010 Constitution.

In 2014, a biometric headcount of the civil servants exposed 12,000 ghost workers — those who did not physically present themselves at registration centres — and they were subsequently removed from the payroll.

Additional report by Brian Wasuna