THE ministries of Home Affairs and Agriculture have denied that there are "ghost employees" in the two ministries, as was stated in the latest annual report of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The report stated that a staff audit done by the PSC in February this year showed that there were 193 people on the payroll of the Ministry of Agriculture who did not work at the ministry.
It also found that 26 staff members were reported as employed by the ministry, but did not appear on the payroll.
Another 19 staff members whose services had been terminated or who had been transferred to other ministries were still on the ministry's payroll.
At the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, 382 people on the payroll did not work there, the PSC report stated. Nineteen other people on the payroll had been dismissed or transferred to other ministries.
The PSC said this was tantamount to corruption and recommended that the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance design measures to eliminate ghost workers in the public service.
"We do not want to make a statement at this stage except to say that we take exception to the report because it is misleading and not factual. I do not know if they [PSC] have put their facts together. But the ministry is now busy reconciling its staff records," the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, Patrick Nandago, said yesterday.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry also took strong exception, and Minister John Mutorwa said he would clarify the matter in Parliament today since the PSC annual report was tabled in the National Assembly two weeks ago.
The agriculture ministry said during the staff audit by the PSC, a list of 375 names was provided to the human resources office to verify why these names were on the payroll but not on the structure of the ministry.
In March, the ministry said, it informed the PSC that 220 ex-combatants were placed "additional" to the ministry's structure of the directorate of forestry after approval by the Office of the Prime Minister in January 2006.
"There are no ghost workers," emphasised the deputy director of human resources in the agriculture ministry, Mathilda Strauss. "All those on the payroll are legally working in the ministry; they are legally employed. The only thing is that they are not in posts on the structure of the ministry."
Strauss said the ex-combatants were taken on board by the ministry after a Cabinet directive some years back that they be given jobs in the public service.
The ex-combatants, she said, are working as work hands and labourers.
Strauss said the February staff audit found that 375 names did not appear on the structure, which had been "sorted out" in the meantime.
She said the ministry sent proof to the PSC that it had cancelled the salaries of those people whose services had been terminated.