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Nyagarama shock as Nyamira County payroll audit exposes massive irregularities

The ongoing payroll scrutiny in Nyamira County could have several top officials frogmarched to court should the human resource audit committee make recommendations strictly within the findings.

Earlier this month, Governor John Nyagarama sent payroll staff on a three-month compulsory leave, arguing that the move would give him an opportunity to review the public service department’s operations.

“I have directed the entire payroll staff to proceed for a three-month leave. They will be back once we complete the audit,” said Nyagarama then, adding that the county would also not renew contracts for 500 ECDE teachers.

Public Service Management minister, Bernard Osumo, and Deputy Governor – Amos Nyaribo, were instructed to chair the audit committee, a move triggered bruising battles between county public service operatives.

Already, Mr Osumo is facing an impeachment motion before the County Assembly and has the support of at least 25 MCAs, who voted in it’s favour.

“He has repeatedly abused his office besides failing to adhere to the law. We shall ensure he’s kicked out. I am optimistic that the committee will verify the allegations,” said Nyansiongo MCA John Kebaso, the mover of the motion.

While MCAs insist Osumo may have flouted the law by irregularly employing his son, a number of senior officials see the move as a wider plan orchestrated by cartels to frustrate the payroll audit.

An officer overseeing the exercise who spoke in confidence, said so far several anomalies have been detected in the payroll. Some of the issues which could bring down top officers include irregular recruitments, improper promotions and retention of retired people.

“We were able to detect that 1,950 people were recruited in 2016. No formal advertisement was issued to the effect and it’s technically impossible to do that within a year. We also detected several irregular promotions,” said the source.

“Also, there were people who are supposed to retire but they keep on serving. We don’t know why they haven’t retired from civil service. This is outright impunity that ought to be rebuked.”

A look at the leaked payroll further exposed cases of people who were recruited to the system before attaining 18 years, the formal employment age under Labour Laws.

For the last nine months, the official argued, the county government has recruited 600 more support staff, even though no records or documents could be obtained on advertisement and recruitment.

Deputy Governor Amos Nyaribo, after a long recess in India where he was admitted for medical treatment, wrote to the governor demanding that that the Human Resource Audit report done last year to be made public.

The DG argued that the exercise having cost taxpayers over KSh3 million, it was imperative that it be made public.

It’s not clear why the governor, who has ironically called for the audit, is reluctant to release the report.

A report tabled by County Assembly Budget Committee chair Richard Onyinkwa, revealed that the county government spends a whopping KSh5 billion on recurrent expenditure, leaving very little for development.

“We are technically at the ICU. Time has come for us to look for ways of minimising the wage bill. This includes having a genuine Human Resource audit. We must stand to be counted,” Onyinkwa argued.

PHOTO/COURTESY

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