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TSC reveals it paid dead and retired teachers

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 07:00 | By
TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia (right) with the director of legal affairs Cavin Anyuor when they appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly yesterday. PD/Kenna CLAUDE

Details emerged yesterday of how the teacher’s employer paid a whopping Sh466.9 million to dead or retired teachers.

Documents tabled before MPs shows that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) paid the millions to teachers who had either died, exited the commission, resigned or absconded duty.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to audit queries for the financial year ending June 30, 2022, the commission’s chief Executive Nancy Macharia was at pains to explain how the commission paid out such huge sums of money without realizing that the  teachers were no longer in service.

It is against this background that MPs demanded that a system audit be conducted on the payroll of the commission to determine whether there were any other losses.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, in a report for the financial year ending June 2022, raised queries relating to salary overpayment of Sh466.9 million, which is an increase of Sh114 million or 32 per cent from last year’s balance of Sh352.9 million.

System audit

This was after the committee learnt that the commission had other queries relating to cash losses including overspending, unsupported receivable balances, unexplained decrease in employer contribution to National Social Security Fund and staff pension funds.

While supporting calls for a special audit, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson John Mbadi (Nominated), questioned how the commission allowed payment of salaries to teachers who had long died.

He said: “If members feel we need to do an audit of the system, it is alright we can demand for it.”

Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo and Soy MP David Kiplagat had sought to know whether the Auditor General had ever conducted a system audit of the TSC payroll.

“We need to carry out a system audit of TSC. I believe that there is something that is fundamentally wrong with TSC. If it is not addressed it can lead to something bigger,” said Kiplagat

Oundo said the matters raised were serious especially in a case where a teacher who had not attended duty for over a year continued to receive a salary while others were forced to go for long without pay.

Added Oundo: “We might be asking for a forensic audit so that we can get to the depth of the payroll of the TSC because there seems to be a problem with this commission.”

Reporting mechanisms

The queries by the MPs arose after Macharia admitted that the matter relating to salary overpayment occurred as a result of delay in stoppage of pay of employees upon death, desertion of duty, resignation, transfer of service, sick leave, interdiction and absenteeism.

The overpayment, Macharia said, had grown over the years due to reporting systems that were inefficient due to their manual nature.

She, however, said that to address the salary overpayment, the commission had developed and was implementing an overpayment policy and an online system to improve efficiency in reporting mechanisms between the commission headquarters, field officers and schools in respect to death, desertion of duty, resignation, sick leave and absenteeism.

She also said they had alerted heads of institutions, sub county directors and county directors on overpayment.

“Once overpayment is recorded, recovery is progressive through the payroll for teachers who are still in TSC employment as well as mechanisms set out in the overpayment policy,” she said.

Her explanation came after she tabled documents before the committee confirming that indeed the commission paid salaries to non-existing employees though it had made efforts to recover the money.

In one of the letters, TSC wrote to one Alice Sawe notifying her to refund Sh260,110 that was paid to her husband, Sawe Robert Kipleting, for four months yet he had died.

Reads the letter: “The commission demands that you settle the amount said in cash payables to Teachers Service Commission A/C no 0100100090500 National Bank of Kenya. Harambee Avenue, Nairobi. In the event of their failure to honor this demand, the commission shall proceed to recover the said amount in accordance with the laid done procedures without further communication to this matter.”

In another case, the commission also wrote to Nehemia Kiprono Tireito notifying him that to refund the commission Sh5,061.85 for the period 25.04.2021 to 30.042021 being salaries and allowances earned erroneously after the death of one Chemtai Caroline.

The commission also wrote to Mercy Awino Yogo notifying them to refund Sh24,671.30 that was an overpayment made between 12.10.2021 to 31.10.2021.

In another case, the commission demanded that Edward Sabwa refunds Sh85,764.95 that was an overpayment made between 1.11.2021 and 30.11.2021

TSC also wrote to Susan Mwende to refund Sh1,859.40 that was paid to the late Sebastain Sila Mutuku as it was earned erroneously while in another case, it asked Jane Chepkirui Sigei to return  Sh10,541.75 that was erroneously paid to Linda Chepkemoi Sigey between 20.4.2021 and 30.4.2021 yet she had died.

The commission also wrote to Martha Wathithi Mutu requesting her to refund Sh10,135 that was erroneously paid between 19.09.2019 to 30.9.2021.

The commission also wrote to various banks and saccos including Mwalimu National Sacco to refund Sh14,995 belonging to Bernard Kinyua Mathenge who died and to enable them process his death gratuity and Kwetu Sacco to refund Sh151,741 that was misdirected to their Fosa Kwetu Sacco in respect to Beatrice Obonyo Nyambane.

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