People’s Works Programme: 500 ‘ghost’ employees unearthed

Employees reinstated by Establishment Division being paid to do ‘nothing’; an inquiry has been launched into the...

Haider Naseem July 23, 2011


The Establishment Division has launched an internal inquiry after allegations surfaced that 500 “ghost” employees had been on the payroll of the People’s Works Programme, sources in the Establishment Division told The Express Tribune on Friday.

The People’s Works Programme was inaugurated in 1993 with hundreds of employees taken on board. However, soon after the removal of then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s government in 1998, the incumbent Nawaz Sharif government relinquished the employees from their duties.

The Establishment Division recently reinstated some 500 sacked employees under the Sacked Employees Reinstatement Act 2010 with a majority of the reinstated employees belonging to Sindh and Balochistan. Some 54 officers were reinstated to Grades 17 and 18 while the remaining employees were brought back into Grades 1-16. The employees were put on a regular roll with attendance based emoluments.

However, none of the reinstated employees were assigned any posts and were being paid despite having zero attendance. It is believed that political forces lobbied for the Establishment Division to pay arrears of three years to these employees, excluding their monthly salaries. The Establishment Division, however, refused to pay the arrears in a lump-sum but agreed to pay them in three installments.

The release of the first installment was signed by the secretary establishment division himself. However, the remaining two installments were released without his consent. Hundreds of these employees received their arrears after bribes were paid to officials or through political influence, sources told The Express Tribune. Several employees, however, never received a single rupee due to a lack of political backing and a refusal to bribe officials.

The secretary establishment division has ordered a halt on the payment of arrears to these employees after the scam became public. Furthermore, he removed three officers of the Establishment Division, including Deputy Secretary Service Review Board Umar Farooq, Section Officer (Cash) Ameer Abbas and Cashier Ghulam Rasul.

An inquiry headed by Joint Secretary Career Planning Akhtar Nazir Warraich has been launched into the scam. It is believed that an unnamed joint secretary and a section officer are suspected of leading the scam, sources told The Express Tribune.

An employee of the Auditor General of Pakistan Revenue, Tabassum, is also under investigation for allegedly being the lynchpin in disbursement paying salaries and arrears to the 500 reinstated employees.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2011.


Dan | 10 years ago | Reply

The ghost employee refers to an individual on the company payroll who does not work for the company. Adding these factious employees can be accomplished by different means. The ghost could be added by an employee within or outside the payroll department. Any payroll employee with access to the payroll records and / or payroll software could potentially create this payroll fraud. Implementing internal controls help mitigate your exposure from simple precautions to detailed procedures. Simple payroll fraud prevention could be requiring employees to show identification when picking up their paychecks. Using password best practices for payroll file access can help prevent payroll fraud. Auditing all new employees each week is another good idea. Have a person not responsible for initiating new employees confirm those names with the employee's supervisor.

Turab Shah | 10 years ago | Reply

I salute the present people’s party government for reinstating the sacked employees specially President Zardari. One can understand the hardship these employees would have gone through. Further they are not ghost employees as being referred in the news. However they are being paid the arrears as per law.

How can you work if you are not being posted any where?

Government is doing good work but government officers so-called bureaucrats are creating hurdles in the implementations.

The government is blamed however the issues with the bureaucrats…………..I suppose. Do correct me if I am wrong.

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