Illegal pay by TSC no laughing matter

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024 06:00 | By
Leadership crisis looming in Nyamira secondary schools
TSC Headquarters. PHOTO/Print

Revelations that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) paid Sh466 million as salaries to either retired or dead teachers should raise alarm bells.

Even worse was the admission by chief executive Nancy Macharia on the overpayment of salaries over the years due to inefficient manual reporting systems.

In the 2020/2021 financial year, TSC is reported to have spent Sh352 million on payment of salaries, out of which Sh114 million resulted from overpayment, or to put it aptly, money spent on ghost workers.
It is established procedure that when a worker dies, a supervisor informs the ultimate employer.

The fact that TSC continued to pay dead teachers is a clear case of either gross negligence of duty by officials or connivance to steal from taxpayers. Payments were made to people who had deserted duty, resigned, transferred services, left the profession or had been sacked.

For an agency that handles almost all its issues with an iron fist that leaves no room for negotiations, Macharia’s explanations were hot air. The theft of taxpayers’ money is not only a clear case of corruption but also incompetence. More saddening is the fact that it comes from a commission entrusted with hiring people to teach and mentor the county’s children.

And there was this laughable explanation that the commission had written to widows of deceased teachers asking them to refund money that had been paid to their husbands. First, TSC has no authority on the widows or any enforcement mechanism for the refunds. And, to use legal parlance, the widows had no duty of care. In fact, it was not possible for the recipients to get the payments without the complicit help of TSC officials.

That is why we are concerned about the casual manner in which Macharia handled the loss of taxpayers’ money before a parliamentary team.

But the problem of ghost workers on payroll is a pandemic in almost all government agencies, including county governments.

Billions of taxpayer money is pumped out annually from the national and county governments and State parastatals to pay non-existent employees who have been placed on the payroll systems by corrupt officials.

The issue of ghost workers can be addressed by ensuring the whole public sector human resource information data is consolidated, consistent, and up to date, and salaries paid through integrated systems with effective payroll controls.

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