Billions of kwacha from government coffers are being lost out on ghost teachers in operatives being masterminded by unscrupulous civil servants at Capital Hill in Malawi’s administrative capital Lilongwe, Nyasa Times can reveal.
The revelation comes in the wake of ‘cashgate’ trials currently ongoing in Malawi courts, following the plundering of more than $100 million dollars of public money through hazy deals by public officers between 2012 and 2013.
According to Nyasa Times investigations, senior public servants responsible for teachers’ perks are swindling the latter’s hardship allowances, leave grants and salaries through the creation of bogus pay rolls.
“There are still a lot of loopholes that some [the senior officials] are using to cash in on ghost teachers,” a source at Capital Hill told Nyasa Times. “Government is losing billions.”
Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) general secretary expressed a gloomy concern over the matter, and warned that, as teachers, they would stage a nationwide strike should the malpractice continue.
“We will sanction a strike the country has never seen,” warned Kalekeni.
Kalekeni said it was sad that thousands of teachers were “suffering because of few senior members at Capital Hill who create ghost workers, and siphon money that is supposed to ease some of the numerous problems teachers encounter.”
Government is believed to be owing a horde of teachers billions in leave grants, hardship allowances and salaries for newly recruited staff.
Nyasa Times reported Tuesday of the status quo of most primary school teachers in the country most of who resort to loan sharks to eke out a living.
During a research dissemination workshop in Lilongwe Monday, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director Benedict Kondowe told participants that a survey they conducted recently showed that government is losing billions of kwacha in paying salaries and other benefits for teachers who do not exist.
According to Kondowe, their research showed a mismatch between the number of teachers that exist in government files and those that are on the ground.
“They were more teachers on the government list than on the lists we collected from authorities in various schools across the country,” said Kondowe. “Where is the rest of the money going?”
Director of basic education at the Ministry of Education Dr. Joseph Chimombo told Nyasa Times that the ministry “was not aware of pilferage of the government money through ghost teachers.”
He added: “Now that we have evidence from Mr. [Benedict] Kondowe, we will definitely take it up from there.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :