At least 170 employees of the Kisii County Government who have been working without pay since 2016 are set to lose their jobs.
It has emerged that the 170 staff may have been illegally employed by corrupt officials.The employees, who claim they have official employment letters, are planning to sue the county government for breach of contract and for denying them salaries for two years.
Investigations by Saturday Standard revealed that several of the staff members were duped by unscrupulous senior county government officials during the 2017 election campaigns and were awarded employment letters without the due process being followed.However, few others have since received their salaries, raising questions on the criteria used in absorbing them into the payroll.The matter has been a thorn in the flesh of Governor James Ongwae who commissioned a staff headcount last year.The report from the exercise has never been made public. The exercise was aimed at ascertaining the actual staff on the payroll and help rid it of ghost workers who have been earning salaries illegally.So hot is the matter that current senior county officers don’t want to issue any statement or comment.They claim they were not in office when the letters were given to unsuspecting residents.Authentic signaturesSaturday Standard has established that some of those seeking to be absorbed in the payroll could have paid bribes to get the letters.Some of them received their employement letters on merit. Their letters were duly signed by relevant county government officers who have not denied the authenticity of their signatures on the said letters.In a past interview on the matter, Kisii County Assembly Speaker David Kombo, who was then Chairman of the Public Service Board, said he had signed some of the letters.“I am aware of some crafty individuals who went out collecting money pretending that they could issue employment letters. Some of these cases are in court,” Mr Kombo said.On Monday, more than 25 uniformed enforcement officers were ordered to return their uniforms before close of business yesterday.A senior officer in the county said the 25 have never earned salaries for close to two years.At the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) close to 45 workers were also asked to vacate their work stations after receiving verbal communication from their seniors. They include clerical officers and a few medics.While launching the staff headcount exercise in May 2018, Ongwae said it was intended to clean the payroll, reconcile personnel records, determine bona fide county employees and manage the huge wage bill.“Through this, we hope to reduce the recurrent expenditure significantly,” he said.Geoffrey Mairura, one of the affected employees, said he had already moved to court to sue the county executive and public service board.