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Zimbabwe Parliament Demands Urgent Action on 'Ghost Workers'

  • Tatenda Gumbo

The parliamentary committee on public service wants the PSC to table the report and outline how it intends to deal with the imaginary workers said to be fleecing government of millions of dollars

Zimbabwe's parliament has ordered the Public Service Commission to deal decisively with the issue of so-called ghost workers as a matter of priority.

Concluding deliberations Tuesday on a recent motion, lawmakers called on the commission to release a 2010 audited report, which the House says is long overdue.

The parliamentary committee on public service wants the PSC to table the report and outline how it intends to deal with the imaginary workers said to be fleecing government of millions of dollars.

In its report, the commission disputes the findings of the original 2010 Ernst & Young survey which found 70,000 ghost workers on government payroll.

Following instructions from Cabinet, the commission did its own audit revealing it had found minimal irregularities in the recruitment of state employees, including the hiring of 6,000 officers by the youth ministry.

Parliament estimates government is losing $75 million annually in ghost workers' salaries.

Lawmaker Settlement Chikwinya, who represents the Mbizo constituency told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that a roadmap to remove nonexistent workers from state payroll is urgently needed.

"We believe that if these anomalies are corrected and the government salary structure is rationalized, this can result in an immediate increment to the civil servants," said Chikwinya.

He said in 2007, some 3,500 ghost workers were found to be employed by government ahead of the violent 2008 elections.

“The party in government saw it fit to use the Public Service funds as a campaigning tool for their members and for them to carry out their political activities while campaigning for the party at the same time,” Chikwinya added.

“These people, up to this day continue to occupy government positions."

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