The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) is saving Rs50 million every month since it started a crackdown against fake or ghost employees, officials told The Express Tribune on Sunday.
“We are identifying such employees every other day,” said Muhammad Hussain Syed, the administrator. “Around 31 fake employees were found out just yesterday (Saturday).”
Until now, the authorities have found 3,000 people who were not employed with KMC but were drawing double salaries.
Syed said that the financial embezzlement had been going on for years in various departments of the municipal service provider, which has 26,400 employees on its payroll.
“This is a continuing exercise. We are finding new cases as we dig deeper,” he said, hoping to stop the financial haemorrhage in the coming months.
KMC has over 33 different departments. Employee records are still kept on paper ledgers, involving hand written entries when it comes to moving funds.
Under a new scheme, KMC is directly depositing salaries in employee bank accounts, said Amir Khursheed, the financial adviser of KMC.
The saved amount was being embezzled under the cover of the old system, which involved many intermediaries between the finance department and the employees, he said. “There are still officials among us who are trying to disable the entire exercise,” he said. “We have been able to bring at least 90 per cent of the system online.”
In the new online system, KMC has the computerised national identity card numbers of all employees and as their salaries are transferred to individual accounts, the finance department knows where the money is going.
“Before this we were completely in the dark. Each department would send us a request for the amount of money it needed and we would issue the cheque without knowing who was getting how much,” Khursheed said.
Often, the salary drawing and disbursement officer would draw more money from the finance department than he actually required.
But a recent delay in the payment of salaries has become a major issue since the introduction of the new system. School teachers, doctors, paramedics and firefighters have all protested in the past couple of months for payments on time.
Khursheed said there are officials who have thrived on financial manipulation and who can’t stand losing their commissions. “If the departments don’t share records of their employees, how are we going to verify and transfer the money?”
KMC has already lodged FIRs against at least five employees of the education department after finding them involved in the manipulation of salary records. Most of the corruption cases were reported in the education department. But there are instances of fake and excess appointments in the city wardens department, the fire brigade and parks and horticulture departments as well.
KMC spokesman Ali Hasan Sajid said around 120 million rupees have saved in three months since the new system was introduced.
Every employee has been asked to fill a form, which carries all his job-related details, he said. “Those who will not file it won’t get their salaries.” KMC pays Rs580 million in salaries every month.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.
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