12 June 2018

Kenya: Staff Cuts Rock Counties in the Wake of Graft Claims

Governors in western region have embarked on reduction of staff in their administrations, in what is viewed as an attempt to forestall any accusations of graft.

In the past one week, suspensions and sackings have characterised the said 'cleansing of the payroll system' and war on corruption by governors of Nyamira, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Vihiga and Kakamega counties.

But as expected the exercise has triggered court cases launched by the affected workers.

In Nyamira, Deputy Governor Amos Nyaribo sent home at least 30 staff over forged academic papers. The workers were found with fake certificates following a verification exercise done on 535 names forwarded to the Kenya National Examination Council.

Mr Nyaribo also interdicted 24 other county employees in the payroll department.

"As a result we have resolved that the entire payroll staff leave office immediately pending a determination of investigations," said Mr Nyaribo during a press conference.

Over 50 Siaya county workers sent home

COMPULSORY LEAVE

Just days earlier, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga sent on compulsory leave, over 50 staff in finance and planning departments. alleged to have been involved in corruption.

A bloated workforce has been a major challenge to counties as most recruited additional staff even after inheriting a good number from the defunct councils.

A report of the Controller of Budget, Ms Agnes Odhiambo, indicated that Vihiga and Kakamega counties fared badly in local revenue collection in 2016/2017 yet had bloated wage bills.

In Vihiga, recurrent expenditure gobbled up 49.4 per cent of the budget, translating to Sh1.87 billion, against an annual revenue collection of Sh96.03 million.

STAFF RATIONALISATION

Already, Governor Wilbur Ottichilo has embarked on a staff rationalisation measure that will see up to 3,000 workers sent home to cut costs.

Kakamega posted a 12.1 per cent decline in revenue collection in the 2016/17 financial year. The county collected Sh443 million which fell short of the targeted Sh894 million.

In Homa Bay County, Governor Cyprian Awiti laid off 670 casual workers and also announced a workforce audit to tame the runaway wage bill.

But the casual workers, through their chairman, Mr Ocholla Owaka, have sued the county government for 'wrongful dismissal'.

They complained that they have not been paid for the last six months and therefore sacking them without paying them their dues was unlawful.

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