Ghost workers drain taxpayers over 200 million annually in West Pokot.

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West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin
West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin

Taxpayers in West Pokot County have been paying over 200 million shillings annually to ghost workers.

The County internal audit reports show that more than 2000 non-existent workers have been earning money without working.

The ghost workers were inherited from the former regime of former Governor John Lonyangapuo.

Speaking to the press in Kapenguria, Governor Simon Kachapin said that he has taken a step and stopped paying salaries to ghost workers.

“We want to bring order in West Pokot and we get development. This will be the first step towards service delivery and giving our mandate and pledges to the people which was to streamline and seal corruption loopholes,” he said.

The County boss said that to continue paying the wages will have to affect development projects in the area.

“We only need productive workers. We shall put more funds in development projects to improve the area economy,” he said

He said half of the County funds used to go to paying salaries without development.

“The employees were fraudulently placed on the payroll systems. The County’s wage bill has been ballooning since 2017, causing anxiety and becoming unsustainable,” said Kachapin.

Apart from examining the authenticity of workers on the payroll, the Governor said they will establish  qualifications and suitability of others to serve in certain positions after it emerged some workers might be holding positions they are not qualified for.

The governor also alleged that there was mass employment of casual workers towards the end of the campaign period, describing the hiring as suspicious.

“All we are doing is to verify that everyone that was absorbed as a casual worker was qualified and that correct procedures were followed,” he said.

He said that there was corruption in the County.

“Many people were employed, earned salaries without working. Some were employed with a budget and in positions which don’t exist even in our jurisdiction as a county government [and] areas which needed staff were left pending,” he said.

He said the biggest problem facing devolved units was bloated wage bills.

“There was no development for the last five years and what is there are projects I initiated during my first time,” he said

He urged residents to support her reform initiatives in order to get the cCunty back on track and improve service delivery.

“Only qualified personnel will be hired for the available jobs,”  he  added.

He blamed his predecessor John Lonyangapuo for massive hiring.

West Pokot CEO claimed that when he left office in 2017, there were around 600 casual workers but the figure had tripled in five years.

The Governor promised to deal with unfair promotions noting that some workers whom he left had stagnated in the same position for long while those who were recruited later had been promoted.