Taxpayers have been paying billions of shillings to ghost pensioners after a headcount revealed that about 40,000 retired civil servants are dead and remain on the state payroll. The Pensions Department said that the two-month census that started in February did not capture about 50,000 pensioners, adding that it has confirmed that 40,000 of them are dead. The State had been paying relatives and dependants of dead people retirement benefits, helped by the growing use of ATM cards and mobile banking, which do not require the physical presence of beneficiaries in banking halls. The Treasury will stop wiring cash to the bank accounts of the dead retirees, estimated at about 20 percent of the 260,000 pensioners on the payroll. The Treasury plans to stop wiring cash to the bank accounts of retirees who did not show up for vetting. The Auditor-General, in a 2015 report, warned that advancement in the banking sector and an ageing pension payment system had made it difficult for Kenya to maintain a clean retirees’ payroll, leading to the loss of billions of shillings in taxpayers’ cash. The auditor-general found 12,000 false names on the State payroll, and established that more than Sh100 million a month was lost in payments to “ghost workers”.
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