Murang’a Governor Exposes Multi-Billion Fraud Scheme, Unmasks 222 Ghost Workers

by | Apr 26, 2023 | News | 0 comments

Murang’a Governor Irungu Kang’ata has disclosed a fraudulent scheme involving over Sh2 billion in fictitious claims, as well as the presence of 222 ghost workers on the county payroll. The revelations came after a thorough pending bills verification process, which demonstrated that the outgoing administration had fabricated outstanding bills totaling Sh2.7 billion, when the legitimate sum amounted to Sh640 million.

Despite delays in county funds disbursement from the National Treasury, Governor Kang’ata stated that the county has managed to save money through austerity measures, settling Sh140.4 million of verified debts and committing to pay an additional Sh50 million by month-end. He believes that if investigated, the Sh2 billion fraud could unveil a devastating plunder spanning a decade of devolution.

Kang’ata detailed how fake contractors exploited the county by submitting fraudulent invoices for roads built using the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) or the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra). Other counterfeit contractors received payment for nonexistent projects, draining resources meant for county development.

The governor also revealed that the previous administration had left Sh340 million in unremitted statutory deductions. His administration has requested the Controller of Budget’s permission to start servicing the debt in August, while juggling budgeting for day-to-day operations, recurrent expenses, and development.

The county is also losing Sh200 million yearly due to the 222 ghost workers identified among its more than 4,000 employees, including 2,800 in the health sector. An investigation found that the county had been maintaining both digital and manual payrolls for the past eight years, with the manual payroll allegedly used to pay unaccounted-for salaries. The report suggests merging the two payrolls and eliminating ghost workers.

Last September, the county government collaborated with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to establish two committees tasked with auditing employees and outstanding bills to optimize recurrent expenditures. Governor Kang’ata reaffirmed his commitment to paying all legitimate bills but vowed that no fraudulent bill would be settled.

Kang’ata plans to rally the county assembly to approve a payment plan for genuine bills, emphasizing that settling outstanding bills is considered a top priority. Those who feel wronged can appeal to the National Audit Office or the Budget Controller. The governor lamented the entrenched corruption in the county, noting that it has devoured resources to the extent that county workers go without salaries for months and development projects receive less than 30% of total revenue.

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