The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has been put on the spot for overpaying a section of its staff as the agency is reeling from a shortage of teachers.
According to the latest public audit covering the period to June 2021, the irregular payments may have drained some Ksh.3 billion and gave irrecoverable salary advances to teachers.
The audit further reveals that the commission failed to remit over Ksh.2 billion in taxes deducted from staff.
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu wrote in the audit that some of the lost funds had been historical with the possibility that ghost teachers were paid between the years 1988 and 2000 when the teachers were still paid in cash and not through the banks.
TSC is said to have advanced some Ksh.10.5 million in salary advances, some of which were not documented while the rest were not being recovered at all.
“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 of the TSC staff whose salary advances were not being repaid continued to draw more salary advances, raising the question of a possible collusion to misuse funds allocated to the commission.
TSC could also not explain how it overpaid staff to the tune of Ksh.352 million some of which it had failed to recover in years.
Some teachers were overpaid to the tune of Ksh.33 million under unclear circumstances, funds the Auditor General says may 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.
“However, the repayment period for recovery of the outstanding amounts is beyond the retirement age of the respective teachers. The recoverability of the balance is therefore doubtful.”
One teacher had been overpaid by Ksh 4.8 million, an amount that was being recovered at Ksh9,056. This would need 44 years to recover, an almost impossible period to be in service, assuming the teacher had completed probation before such an advance was issued.
While most government institutions usually ask for KRA tax compliance to offer employment, more than 5000 TSC staff are not compliant because their taxes amounting to Ksh.2.2 billion were never remitted to KRA.
TSC was allocated some Ksh.2.5 billion to try and narrow its teaching staff gap that has widened beyond 100,000 and is likely to grow as the government continues rolling out the Competency Based Curriculum, CBC.