Zanu PF militias among 75 000 ghost workers

MORE than 75 000 ghost workers, most of them unqualified Zanu PF militias and supporters, have been unearthed in the civil service through a comprehensive payroll and skills audit done by Ernst & Young (India) on behalf of the Ministry of Public Service.

The discovery of thousands of ghost workers — including 6 861 employed in one day in one ministry —  has alarmed government ministers and stakeholders who say it revealed the extent of Zanu PF’s abuse of office to create a huge patronage network using the public service at the expense of taxpayers.

Zimbabweans are some of the most highly taxed workers in the world and now it has been shown that their money is being used to pay illegal workers, some of whom do not even render a service. Trade unions have already expressed outrage at government paying ghost workers while failing to pay its genuine employees.

Civil servants are paid between US$150 and US$250 a month. Government is working on plans to increase their salaries.

The payroll and skills audit, seen by the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday, shows that there are more than 75 000 ghost workers out of a total of over 188 000 employed in various ministries.

“There are 75 273 civil servants out of a total of 188 019 in various ministries who do not have the requisite minimum qualifications as laid down by the Public Service Commission for the designated positions,” notes culled from the audit report show.

“Additionally, there are 17 088 civil servants whose designations, as recorded in the data file, do not appear in the Detailed Establishment Tables.

About 1 315 civil servants are working without designation. There are 8 723 civil servants out of 188 019 employed by various ministries that we are unable to comment on whether they have necessary qualifications as the relevant information about their qualifications and training has not been captured in the database.”

The audit indicates that Zimbabwe’s civil service is in a shambles and has become a haven for mainly Zanu PF patronage.

“In all 188 019 civil servants were covered by the exercise. This includes 9 571 civil servants who were not in the Human Resources Repository Database. Out of this, 2 191 civil servants could not be enumerated as no information was made available during the enumeration exercise as well as during the follow-up mopping-up exercise carried out by the Ministry of Public Service,” the notes say.

“Apart from civil servants who were enumerated as present or presumed present (authorised leave and authorised time off), attendance records clearly show that there were 13 782 civil servants who were enumerated as absent or presumed absent (retired, absconded, deceased, transferred, resigned and other).”

The audit notes show that despite ample notice to civil servants to participate in the enumeration process, these 13 782 workers did not show up. It was therefore assumed that these civil servants, still on the payroll, were not rendering their services anymore.

“Records show that there are 3 593 civil servants appointed on or after January 1, 2007 who have no verifiable documentation relating to police clearance, medical, clearance, appointment letter and appointment form,” the notes indicate.

“This is a serious procedural lapse and a gross violation of the provisions of the Public Service Regulations, Health Service Regulations and documented Salary Service Bureau procedures,” the notes say.

“On closer scrutiny of 10 753 civil servants’ records it was observed that they do not have either  police or medical clearance. This is serious violation of government rules and regulations relating to recruitment and hiring of civil servants and should be further be investigated to determine who is responsible for these lapses.”

The audit information also shows that 6 345 civil servants obtained both their police and medical clearance after their dates of appointment, a violation of the rules and procedures of employment.

“About 10 135 civil servants who have been appointed in various ministries are in excess of their authorised establishment and were appointed without the necessary treasury concurrence, which is irregular,” the notes say. “There are also 90 cases of civil servants with different employment contract numbers with the same national ID number and should therefore be considered as civil servants potentially holding multiple civil service jobs. Also, 335 civil servants have a duplicate NSSA ID number. Furthermore, it should be noted that one particular NSSA ID number 4775559 is found 91 times in the Data File.”