The Auditor General has unearthed a ghost sub-county in Turkana county that has been receiving government funding and staff for 7 years, but does not exist in any map.
The Sajiro sub-county, complete with ghost national government administrative officers, public offices maintained by the exchequer, county government officials and public utilities has existed since the beginning of devolution, but only on paper.
The report notes that ghost civil servants in the virtual location have been receiving salaries from the government.
Surprisingly, the government has always allocated money for infrastructure and other functions. Treasury wires the money to the sub-county, and sub-county offices use the money. The government has even been paying security officers and maintaining offices in the region. All this sounds normal in Nairobi, but they simply do not exist on the ground.
The Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government refused to comment on the matter. The Principal Secretary in the ministry said that this was a matter under investigation. However, one officer speaking on the condition of anonymity said that a ghost sub-county could actually exist.
“Turkana is a very large county – 230 times bigger than Mombasa and 100 times bigger than Nairobi. It would not be a surprise if a ghost sub-county existed. It is extremely hard to police and monitor such a vast land area.”
He however said that investigation is underway and those found to have received money under pretext will be brought to book.
Is such a thing even possible? One governance expert said that while it would be unthinkable to have a ghost sub-county in Nairobi or even Nyeri, it is highly possible in Turkana and the whole of Northern Kenya.
“I think they are just making the government to pay for the marginalization. The government has always neglected Northern Kenya. No one even bothers to campaign there during elections. Seems they decided to take advantage of the situation and they have done it very efficiently.”
Turkana politicians warned that the scandal should not be blown out of proportion because the government only spends less than 2 billion in sub-county operations. This means that the total loss would not exceed 14 billion. “This is not even a drop of what Covid millionaires made. Let it pass.”