via Pay freeze opens Pandora’s box | The Herald August 25, 2015
Government’S call for 2 207 teachers recently struck off the payroll to prove that they are not ghost workers has unearthed more corruption as among the 178 who have responded so far are dead people and others who left the service several years ago.
A verification exercise by the Civil Service Commission on the 178 papers submitted as at last Friday pointed to corruption on the part of headmasters, district education officers and human resources officials who have been all along acquitting the ghost workers as bona fide civil servants.
Public Service, Labour and Social Services Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said Government was charging the “irresponsible and corrupt” officials who have cost the payroll millions of dollars in the past years.
The 2 207 teachers are part of the 3 000 civil servants whose salaries were ceased last month when they were not at their workstations when the Government conducted a head count in March.
The head count was meant to weed out ghost workers.
“Administratively, we have to bring financial sanity in the service,” said Minister Mupfumira. “It looks like we are dealing with syndicates of people who have been prejudicing Government for long.
“We have moved in to charge those who acquit the pay sheet because, surely, how can you approve that one gets paid when you know that he or she is dead or has not been at work for that long.”
She added: “There is great connivance and they thought they would never be caught. They thought we were just going to reinstate their salaries, but we will do that after verification.”
Minister Mupfumira said delays in reinstating the teachers’ salaries were being caused by district officials.
Most of those not in the education sector, she said, had submitted their documentation and had their salaries restored.
“When we ceased the salaries we wrote to the heads of ministries on July 21 ordering them to submit proper documentation for those affected and it took a month for them to submit 178 queries,” Minister Mupfumira said.
“We have only reinstated those with proof and we are not going to pay until we get information of where they were during the head count. We have found out that we have been dealing with callous people. We have brought the issue to the civil servants associations and they have now seen the light.”
Minister Mupfumira said some of the people were going on leave without signing documents.
“If there is no form at the pay point (SSB), then it means one has not been on leave and if they signed, the head of station should answer why the forms were not deposited with the pay point,” Minister Mupfumira said.
“At Lord Malvern School (in Harare), a lady teacher has been in South Africa for the past seven months, but has been getting her salary every month notwithstanding that she has been certified as a bona fide worker. Some are giving us evidence of March 2, yet we did our audit beginning on March 26.”
Some leave forms availed to The Herald which are among the 178 documents of those who want to return showed that they were being signed by the district education officers before they were signed by headmasters.
Under normal operations, the headmaster must first deal with the leave form before submitting it to the district office.
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo said Government should get rid of “undesirable elements” who have been milking it for the past years.
He said Government should speed up its verification process to bring sanity in the civil service.
“The Commission should allow every member affected to come directly to the Commission with all the relevant documents as a cost-cutting measure and to avoid the tedious and painful waiting period,” he said.
Progressive Teachers Union Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe said Government should prosecute those found wanting.
“While this brings out the inherent loopholes on our payment system, those costing Government should be brought to book,” he said.
“This justifies why we have a huge wage bill and why some people do not want to leave their positions in Government. Some people are trying to cover up their bungling and are exposing themselves in the process.”
Findings of the audit report have revealed that some civil servants were drawing salaries without setting foot at their workstations, while several schools were manned by two headmasters and closed way before official dates.