As the deadline for 9,932 public servants whose academic certificates were classified as fake to appeal or quit voluntarily expired yesterday, the government has pledged speedy processing of complaints filed by some of those who had been on the 'List of Shame'.
However, the Communications Officer of the National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA), Mr John Nchimbi, hasn't specified the number of individuals who have sought redress. "The examinations regulatory body will embark on the exercise after the deadline today (yesterday).
I cannot give a specific timeframe for the exercise but it will be speedy and just," Mr Nchimbi told 'Daily News' in a telephone interview yesterday.
In her brief response, the Minister of State in the President's Office (Public Service Management and Good Governance), Ms Angella Kairuki, said the public would get a feedback on the exercise after its completion.
Ms Kairuki is on record for having warned that, public servants whose fake certificates status would be reconfirmed, would face stern legal action.
The 'List of Shame' was initially submitted to President John Magufuli late last month, as a culmination of a probe he had commissioned into the scandal.After its wide circulation and prominent publicity, some of the presumed culprits, but who claim they are innocent, have been flocking to Ms Kairuki's office and NECTA, in a bid to set the record straight and clear their names.
Mr Nchimbi remarked: "Initially, the number of people registering their complaints at NECTA was staggering, but it dropped consistently as the deadline approached.
"After the deadline, we will process the complaints and submit the results to their employer (President Office Public Service Management and Good Governance) for further actions."
Since assuming power in late 2015, the Fifth Phase Government's purge on ghost workers and those with fake certificates has netted 19,706 and 9,932, respectively. All have been deleted from the payroll.
The verification exercise for academic certificates covered some 435,000 workers countrywide. Speaking after receiving the list from Minister Kairuki, President Magufuli said: "It is a criminal offence to forge any document for whatever reason; these 9,932 workers with fake certificates should be fired and deleted from the payroll immediately."
He further directed that their names should be published in local media outlets, and their positions declared vacant, to facilitate recruitment of people with relevant qualifications to fill the gaps.
Explaining his actions, the Head of State said the government spent 700bn/- every month on the wage bill. "I am giving them up to May 15 to leave voluntarily, failing which the law must take its course.
If found guilty, they should be imprisoned for seven years according to the law," the president said.