Embu County to be probed over alleged payment of Ksh.500M to ghost workers

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Embu County Assembly’s Committee on Health is set to carry out a probe to determine the possibility of the County Government losing close to Ksh.500 million in salaries to alleged ghost workers since 2013.

Mwea MCA Harrison Mwaluko, while conducting a personal survey on the health docket’s Personnel Emoluments kitty, revealed that the number of health workers hired was not matching the amount of funds allocated for the said salaries and allowances.

The County legislator told the Assembly that the Health Department’s budget for salaries ought to be Ksh.1.1 billion, but the budget allocated for 2019/2020 financial Year was Ksh 1.62 billion, adding that the amount was higher than the projected amount for salaries by Ksh. 500 Million.

Speaking during a plenary sitting, Mwaluko who is also the Chairman of the Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee urged the House to give the health committee more time to conduct investigations in order reveal whether the County Government could have been losing money by paying ghost employees.

Health Committee Chairman Muturi Mwombo had earlier emphasized on the need to hire more health workers for public health facilities across the county.

Mr. Muturi pointed out that there was a total of 221 registered nurses working at the Embu Level Five Hospital, but the ideal number of nurses was 420, therefore a deficit of 199 nurses.

Muturi, who also serves as the area MCA for Ruguru Ngandori ward, added that the number of registered nurses in other public health facilities is 413, with the ideal number required is 1,038, occasioning a deficit of 625 nurses.

The Chairman said the total number of specialized and registered nurses in the county was 634 with a deficit of 833, therefore stating that the county had no option but to recruit more.

But Mwaluko differed by saying that with 634 nurses and an imagined salary of Ksh.60,000 which is too high compared to what is paid in Embu, the total of salaries for specialized and registered nurses would stand at Ksh 456.5 million.

He added that salaries for other cadres in the Health sector like that is Clinical Officers, Pharmacists, Mortuary Attendants, Laboratory Technicians, drivers and Public Health Officers, could not add up to more than Ksh.300 million, because these are almost half of the number of nurses.

The MCA, who is also the Vice Chairman of the Legislature’s Liaison committee, also called upon other Sectoral Committees to conduct an audit of the existing staff members in their respective ministries versus the monies allocated for salaries and allowances to establish whether money meant for development could be paying ghost workers.

The debate arose from a statement sought from the Health Committee by Gaturi North MCA Paul Muchangi on the staffing levels of County Public Hospitals and its effect on healthcare.

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