The Mozambican government has detected a total of 8,775 “ghost workers” in the public administration, who were drawing wages in 2016 without any proof that they really exist, and are really working for the state.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide said that a survey is now under way to see how much the state has lost because of this situation.
All state employees are supposed to undergo “proof of life” once a year. This involves presenting themselves physically at a government office, run by the Ministry of State Administration, to prove that they really exist. In theory, the names of those who do not appear should be removed from the state wages charts.
Yet it seems that many people who did not undergo “proof of life” in 2015 continued to draw wages in 2016. These cases existed in all provinces, and those who had allowed wages to be paid unduly were now being held responsible
“A survey must be made because some cases are people who requested unpaid leave, some are people who have retired, and some are people facing disciplinary proceedings”, said Saide. “There are various situations, and we have to assess them one by one”.
The media has also reported cases of wages paid fraudulently to people who have died or who never had any contractual link to the state.
Although some of Wednesday’s press reported Saide’s statements as if this was a disaster, in fact the problem is fairly small scale, given the size of the Mozambican state apparatus.
Saide said that, on the last day of 2016, there were a total of 357,430 people registered as working for the state. The “ghost workers” are less than 2.5 per cent of this total.
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