In the midst of a teacher shortage, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has been criticized for overpaying a section of its staff.
The irregular payments may have drained approximately Ksh.3 billion and given irrecoverable wage advances to teachers, according to the most recent public audit, which covered the period from June 2021 to June 2022.
The commission also failed to remit almost Ksh.2 billion in taxes deducted from staff, according to the report.
According to Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, some of the funds were lost in the past, with the likelihood that ghost teachers were paid between 1988 and 2000, when teachers were still paid in cash rather than through banks.
TSC is accused of advancing Ksh.10.5 million in salary advances, part of which were not documented and the remainder of which were never recovered.
“Further, an amount of Ksh.4,264,665 in respect to one hundred and forty-five (145) staff had no movement over the last twelve months. Management did not give any reason for non-recovery of the salary advances” Ms Gathungu wrote.
Ironically, some TSC employees who had not been reimbursed for salary advances continued to receive them, indicating the possibility of collusion to misappropriate commission funds.
TSC also couldn’t explain how it overpaid employees by Ksh.352 million, which it hadn’t been able to recover in years.
Under ambiguous circumstances, some teachers were overpaid by Ksh.33 million, cash that the Auditor General claims would never be recovered.
“Review of the detailed analysis of the payroll provided for the financial year 2020/2021 revealed that thirty-two teachers had an outstanding ‘salary overpayment’ balance amounting to Sh33,780,614,” Gathungu wrote.
“The repayment timeframe for recovering the outstanding amounts, however, is longer than the teachers’ retirement age. As a result, the balance’s recoverability is in question.”
One teacher was overpaid by Ksh.4.8 million, which was recovered for Ksh9.056. If the teacher had completed probation before receiving such an advance, it would take 44 years to recover, which is an extremely impossible length to be in service.
While most government institutions require KRA tax compliance before hiring, more than 5000 TSC employees are non-compliant because Ksh.2.2 billion in taxes were never deposited to KRA.
TSC has been given Ksh.2.5 billion to try to close the teaching staff deficit, which has now exceeded 100,000 and is expected to expand as the government implements the Competency Based Curriculum, or CBC.