Tanzania Says Over 10,000 "ghost Workers" Purged From Govt Payroll

Tanzania Says Over 10,000 "ghost Workers" Purged From Govt Payroll

Tanzania has removed more than 10,000 "ghost workers" from its public sector payroll after a nationwide audit found their fraud cost the Government over $US2 million ($2.74 million) a month, the Prime Minister's office says.

Government officials said the payroll audit is continuing and more non-existent workers are expected to be found.

"We will identify those behind this payroll fraud and take them to court ... the fight against corruption is top priority for the Government," Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said in a statement.

Purging the "ghost workers" from government payrolls would save more than 4.5 billion shillings ($2.82 million) a month, the statement said.

Reformist President John Magufuli ordered the national audit in March as part of a wider corruption crackdown.

Businesses have long said corruption and government inefficiency were major obstacles to investing in Tanzania, which ranked 117 out of 168 countries in Transparency International's 2015 index of least corrupt countries.

Elected last October, Mr Magufuli has already dismissed several senior officials, including the head of the Government's anti-graft body, the country's top tax chief, a senior rail official and the head of the country's port authority.

Tanzania spends over $US260 million ($356 million) per month to pay salaries of its over 550,000 public servants, but the Government believed the public wage bill is bloated by thousands of phantom staff.

Many countries across the continent have been affected by the scam of so-called ghost workers.

In February, the Nigerian government removed 24,000 workers from its payroll after an audit revealed they did not exist.

In September 2014, Kenya began biometrically registering all civil servants after unearthing 12,000 similar cases.

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