EXPOSED: Thousands of ghost workers on payroll

MASERU — The government’s new financial system has unearthed thousands of ghost workers that have been on the payroll for the past five or more years, the Lesotho Times can reveal.

Sources close to the issue said the new financial management system has revealed that the government has been losing millions of maloti by paying workers that had either left employment through dismissal, retirement or death.

Some workers who left the civil service have remained on the payroll for years enjoying the usual benefits and even the annual salary increases, the sources said.

Lesotho started using the Integrated Financial Information Management System (IFMIS) on April1.

In some bizarre cases, the sources said, some workers were deliberately manipulating the old system – GOFIS – to effect double payments on salaries.

Other employees have fraudulently maintained dead workers on the payroll to pocket the money at the end of every month for years.

Although the exact figure is not yet known this paper understands that the money lost could run into millions especially for those ghost workers that have been on the payroll for longer periods.

The government’s payroll currently stands at around 35 000 but the sources said a few thousands of these people could be ghost workers.

This could have been caused by genuine errors in failing to clear workers from the system or deliberate manipulation of the old system by some corrupt government employees.

Most of the discoveries were made during the recapturing of data from the old system. Subsequent checks revealed that some of the workers had long ceased working for the government or were dead.

In some cases it was discovered that some ministries were over-spending their salary budgets because of the ghost workers.  The problem is prevalent in almost all ministries. The normal system is that government allocates ministries funds to cover three months.

This means that the ministries would have been allocated 25 percent of their annual salary budgets to cover three months.

However some ministries would exhaust this allocation within two months leaving them in a serious deficit.

“As the new system comes into effect shocking discoveries have been made. There have been ghost workers, manipulation of the old system and just blatant fraud,” the source close to the instalment of the new system said.

The new system has also discovered that the government has been paying some companies that had not supplied goods or services to it.

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