Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama has stamped authority over the problem of ghost workers that has dogged his administration for several years.
Kurunzihas established that the governor has now frozen salaries of about 1,000 employees suspected to have been hired irregularly between 2015 and 2107.
On Thursday last week, the Governor told journalists that he was determined to bring sanity to the county’s public service and said the ongoing payroll cleansing was a major step towards uprooting economic ills that had dogged his administration.
“I am moving forward and there is no reverse gear in this retreat to pluck out people who are earning free money in the county,” Nyagarama said.
The step to stop the salaries was among preliminary recommendations which a task force which Governor Nyagarama created to carry out an inquiry into the issue of ghost workers in the county.
Already, seven people from the payroll department are out on compulsory leave pending investigations by the task-force.
Deputy Governor Amos Nyaribo blew the whistle, about a year ago, of clandestine recruitment that was taking place, but nothing much was done until two months ago when the matter resurfaced.
Public Service Management Executive Bernard Osumo is facing impeachment by the County Assembly of Nyamira over allegations of incompetence and impropriety.
Osumo who is among the authors of the task-force idea is behind the sacking of the payroll staffs that the County Assembly is now strongly defending.
Among the issues which have come out in the task force is how the MCAs who are now turning guns against the executive each presented six names of job seekers, who have been confirmed to be amongst the 1,000 whose employment is in question.
Last week, Bomwagamo Ward MCA Charles Barongo, also the chairman of the Assembly’s select committee investigating the executive, told members of the public at Ekerenyo (North Mugirango) that people who already had been listed in the payroll should not be victimized as he vowed to get rid of Osumo, whom he termed as a wrong person in the executive.
“Ghost workers are not people who are already in the payroll but are individuals whose terms or employment records are not known,” Barongo had said.
The matter has drawn a lot of conflict in the county with the Kenya Civil Servants Union also calling for an industrial action against removal of the payroll officers as well as stoppage of salaries of the over 1,000 workers.
Yesterday the union’s Nyamira County Secretary Patrick Mobegi said will hold a meeting to deliberate on the issues before calling for industrial strike.
However, deputy governor Amos Nyaribo has said the government will have to deal with issues of corruption and abuse of office by some officers, which are being handled at the moment.
“No one will deter us from cleaning our government systems. Much is shock coming,” Nyaribo said.