West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin said he stopped paying salaries to the alleged ghost workers
He said when he left office in 2017, there were around 600 casual workers but that figure had tripled in five years
An audit will also be conducted to establish qualifications and suitability of county employees for the positions they hold, he said
Taxpayers in West Pokot County paid over Sh200 million annually to ghost workers, the latest county internal reports show.
More than 2,000 non-existent ‘employees’ earned money without working.
They were inherited from former governor John Lonyangapuo’s administration, his successor Simon Kachapin said.
Governor Kachapin said he stopped paying salaries to the alleged ghost workers. He claimed that when he left office in 2017, there were around 600 casual workers but that figure had tripled in five years.
“We want to bring order in West Pokot and get development. This will be the first step towards service delivery and fulfilling our pledges to the people as we streamline and seal corruption loopholes,” he said.
He 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.
“Many people were employed and 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.”
To continue paying the wages, he warned, would derail development projects.
“We only need productive workers. We shall put more funds in development projects to improve the area’s economy,” he said, noting that half of the county funds went to paying salaries without development to show for it.
“The employees were fraudulently placed on the payroll systems. The county’s wage bill has been ballooning since 2017, to a level of unsustainability,” Mr Kachapin said.