Govt audit sniffs out salary cheats

Minister Mupfumira

Minister Mupfumira

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government says the onus is on the 3 000 civil servants struck off the payroll last month to prove they are bona fide workers to have their salaries reinstated.

This comes amid reports that some civil servants were drawing salaries without setting foot at their workstations, while several schools, especially in rural areas, were manned by two headmasters and close way before official dates.

Some people who left the civil service years ago are still drawing salaries, while some go on leave without signing any documents.

Government ceased July salaries for the 3 000 civil servants because they were not present at their work stations when it conducted a head-count in March.

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The physical count, ordered by Cabinet, is expected to weed out ghost workers.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said there would be no problems for those who would prove their status.

“It is no longer business as usual because we want efficiency and discipline in the system,” Minister Mupfumira — who is also the Acting Minister for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services — said.

“We are not retrenching or firing anyone from the service, but it is just cessation of salaries because we have to pay someone for work done.

“We cannot pre-empt the audit because since it was ordered by Cabinet, there are steps which should be followed. The 3 000 workers are not only teachers, but include other civil servants who were not present when the head-count was done.

“Those affected will have their salaries reinstated after proving that they exist in the system.”

Minister Mupfumira said the civil service audit revealed that some civil servants were getting salaries, yet they were employed elsewhere.

“It is clear fraud and perpetrators should be dealt with. We have been paying people who have not been going to work and some of them are double-dipping and there is no one supervising them.”

In one of the cases traced by Government, a person based in Australia is still drawing salary from the Government, yet he was not offering any services here.

It is understood that over 63 schools had two headmasters each, while other schools in Murehwa, Mhondoro and Chimanimani closed days before the official closing dates.

Both headmasters were drawing allowances that come with the post.

“Audit teams were only told by villagers that the schools had closed well before the official dates and this means Government will be paying teachers who are not providing full service delivery and this should stop,” Minister Mupfumira said.

She said during the civil service audit, it was discovered that some people were on leave without signing the requisite forms.

Minister Mupfumira said Government would punish heads of departments who assisted in those fraudulent activities.

“We are not saying people should not go on leave, but just like any other business operations there are rules which should be followed,” she said

“You go to a station and you are told someone is on leave and you ask for papers, there is nothing. You even check with our pay point, the Salary Services Bureau, and they do not have any paper to support that and this means someone is swindling Government.”

If one goes away without filling leave forms, he or she creates a “committed expenditure” to Government and gets paid cash in lieu of leave when he or she retires.

Minister Mupfumira said some bona fide workers were coming forward through the respective structures and their salaries would be reinstated.

“We did the audit in March and the instruction was that if you were not at the work station you should go to the district offices with the relevant documents,” she said.

“Some did so between April, May and June and some never bothered to do so until the Civil Service Commission took a decision to cease their salaries. Real workers are coming forward.”

Government called for the audit as more than 80 percent of the revenue collected is going towards salaries, starving other sectors like infrastructure development.

In his 2015 Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement last week, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Government would cut the civil service wage bill to 40 percent.

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