Public service headcount uncovers ‘irregularities’

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By Ntsebeng Motsoeli

MASERU — The Minister of Public Service, Motloheloa Phooko, has said preliminary findings of a public service headcount conducted last December have already revealed
some irregularities in the government payroll.

The ministry piloted the evaluation in the ministries of Health, Education and Local Government to find out the exact number of civil servants in the three departments.

The evaluation also sought to address the issue of “ghost employees” who are being paid by the government, with the money reportedly being pocked by corrupt officials.
Phooko on Monday told the Lesotho Times that “ghost employees” have already been unearthed through the evaluation.
“We have already discovered some fraudulent practices, and are presenting the preliminary findings before government tomorrow,” Phooko said.

The minister however, added more work is still on-going to analyse the numbers and names of the civil servants which were collected during the exercise.
“It is a lot of work to analyse the numbers. The project was piloted in the three biggest ministries, so progress is a bit slow but we are getting there. The project is probably going to be a lengthy one and might stretch on for the whole year.”

Phooko further warned those who failed to register might be struck-off the government payroll.
“The project was scheduled for the month of December. There was also a month-long grace period in January, so no-one should have failed to register.
“The purpose of the operation is to find illegitimate employees and strike their names off the payroll. If your name is not on the present list, then you will be removed from the payroll.
“Those who failed to register would have to give very good reasons why they did not register for the headcount.”
The headcount, Phooko said, is set to be rolled out to other ministries at a later stage.

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