Nairobi County Hall – time to bring in an exorcist?
Nairobi County Government has been constantly in the news of late but for all the wrong reasons. Recently, an auditor’s report revealed that 2,500 out of the 11,000 workers are relatives and that 3,457 workers are from the same region. The same audit also discovered 2,000 ‘ghost workers’ on the payroll.
We have been here before: when will the ghost workers in the Nairobi administration be exorcised, asks the Kenya Forum?
The Nairobi County administration led by Governor Evans Kidero, argues in their defense that the situation was inherited from the defunct City Council of Nairobi run by the then Town Clerk Philip Kisia. True, but then Kidero has been in office for a year now and the ghost worker scandal was well documented when he came into the job of Governor.
KENYA FORUM REPORTS NAIROBI GHOST WORKERS SCANDAL
The Kenya Forum has been very vocal for several years about the issue of ghost workers in Nairobi County, which meantime has seen the county grappling with a huge wage bill and other debts, and failing to deliver services to local residents (and taxpayers).
Way back in November 2010 we published an article entitled ‘Spooky but true… the ghost workers of NCC’ which reported that 4,215 ‘employees of the City Council had ‘questionable records and that many were ‘ghost workers’, ie., they received pay but didn’t actually exist. Someone was collecting the money.
In January 2012 the Kenya Forum published ‘Nairobi City Council: High time to clean out this den of corruption’, following an investigation by the Standard that revealed widespread fraud.
‘INCOMPETENT’ AND ‘SURPLUS TO REQUIREMENTS’
In April 2012, during the tenure of Philip Kisia as the council’s clerk, a human resources report by the management consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) into the staffing at Nairobi City Council (NCC), reported by the Kenya Forum, concluded the NCC was ‘overstaffed’ by ‘incompetent’ people who were ‘not up to the job’. According to the report, 92 per cent of the Council’s 11,392 employees were ‘incompetent’, 3,676 were ‘surplus to requirements’, while thousands of the employees in the payroll were ‘ghost workers’.
KISIA LEAPS INTO ACTION…
In response to the report by PWC, Philip Kisia then made an odd statement that 25 percent of the staff
Former Nairobi Town Clerk Philip Kisia – left skeletons in the cupboard?
was over 50 thus headed for retirement hence no cause for alarm.
“Implementation will take some time”, said Town Clerk. “We will need to study it carefully and consult widely”, he added. It appears little or nothing was done.
Only last year, in September 2013, by when Evans Kidero was safely ensconced in office, the Kenya Forum reported again that a study had shown there were 2,260 ‘ghost workers’ in the employ of Nairobi County, with some ‘workers’ names appearing on the payroll list five times.
INCREASED SERVICE CHARGES
The cost of services to the Nairobi County government, and therefore to the Kenyan taxpayer and those that pay ‘service charges’ in Nairobi, is estimated to be Sh100 million every month.
Last year, in a bid to raise more revenue for the county government, Governor Evans Kidero signed the County Finances Bill which ushered in increment of service charges in Nairobi by up to 100 per cent.
These saw among others parking fees raised, e.g. the fee for a saloon car went up from Sh140 to Sh300; parking for lorries increased from Sh500 to Sh1, 000; and city mortuary storage fees were also increased from Sh350 to Sh500 per day.
THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS
Last month, city residents were once gain slapped with another increment in parking fee, which according to Kidero is part of his plan to de-congest the Central Business District (CBD). Parking fees for saloon cars parked in the CBD increased to Sh300 and Sh200 for those outside the CBD. Lorries will be charged Sh1000 per day while parking in non-automated areas rose from Sh200 to Sh400. Automated parking now attracts a charge of Sh50 per hour. Motorists seeking monthly seasonal parking tickets will part with Sh5,000, up from Sh2,000, while those on quarterly season tickets will pay Sh12,000, up from Sh5,500.
MATATU OPERATORS DEMONSTRATE OVER HIGH FEES
On Wednesday public transport was brought to a standstill in Nairobi when PSV operators blocked all the roads leading to the city in protest at the exorbitant fees. The demonstrators used their cars to block the roads and this made it impossible even for drivers in personal cars to get any access.
CAN CITY HALL HANDLE THE MONEY?
Critics have questioned City Hall’s capacity to handle the huge amounts of money that will be collected from city dwellers because the county has no proper systems for revenue collections and the cash is likely to end up in the pockets of the corrupt officials.
Meanwhile, cutting costs by getting rid of the thousands of ghost workers in the county’s payroll seemslike a much better idea than passing on a greater financial burden to the city’s beleaguered residents who are not even getting enough services.
KIDERO MUST TAKE ACTION
Come on Mr Kidero, says the Kenya Forum, you have had enough time: get rid of the ghost workers in the Nairobi County misadministration, and investigate and prosecute those who for years have defrauded the Nairobi taxpayers out of multi-millions of shillings.
Related media coverage: ‘2,500 blood relatives working in City Hall’, The Star, February 26.