Homa Bay gov’t withholds salaries for lack of proper documentation

Thursday, February 16th, 2023 17:58 | By
Homa Bay governor Gladys Wanga.
Homa Bay governor Gladys Wanga. PHOTO/Facebook/Governor Gladys Wanga

Homa Bay county government has withheld a number of January salaries for its staff for lack of proper documentation following the ongoing staff audit.

County Secretary Benard Muok on Monday directed that the 2,193 staff be paid their January salaries by cheques in an effort to weed out ghost workers.

The staff were directed to present various documents for verification in an exercise which started on Monday and ended on Wednesday.

Some of the key issues noted for the cheques withheld include staff with no base contract highlighting the contract terms before the staff was issued with permanent and pensionable terms.

Other cheques had names and identification numbers different from those in the payroll while others lacked academic and original documents – only photocopies were available.

Other anomalies include staff who had been earning salaries from the last regime were posted in job groups above their academic qualifications and staff who could not be identified by their supervisors or departmental human resource heads.

County spokesperson Rachel Ogutu in a press release noted that there has been a need to withhold cheque payments of staff whose records for various reasons, appeared to have anomalies after the county secretary Prof Benard Muok ordered that January salaries be paid by cheques.

The county recently embarked on a Payroll and Personnel Census Audit with the aim of developing a human resource development strategy that will guide the implementation of meritocracy in the recruitment.

It also focuses on promotion and management of public servants as well as enforce application of performance management practices at the county.

"The county government of Homa Bay recognizes its staff as the most important resource and that its success depends on its human capital," county spokesperson Rachel Ogutu said.

The audit process which is being conducted by a consultant firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers involves three phases which include the verification of county employees and payroll data, review of the organization structure and skills assessment and review of HR policies, practices and procedures in phase one to three respectively.

According to the spokesperson, phase one of the assignment which entails a physical headcount of all employees, a review of the payroll data, a study of employee bio data, including academic and professional qualifications, and workstations is almost complete.

As part of this process, all employees are required to submit their documents to be verified, followed by facial and fingerprint biometrics.

She admitted that the county government acknowledges that the conclusion of the first phase has been met by delays, characterized by the need to introduce manual issuance of January salaries to staff on manual payroll as a necessary step to this assignment.

"The county government contracted the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to carry out an intensive audit of its staff governance structure,this process will yield a report that will guide staff rationalization with a view to ensuring a strict regime of organizational culture and discipline," she said.

The Consultant has therefore scheduled a final mop-up session of phase one of the assignment for staff who will not have presented themselves for verification for any reason to be done by the end of February 2023.

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