Namibian education department to introduce biennial payroll checks


The move follows the arrest of 18 teachers and two former Ministry of Education accountants in the Zambezi region of the country.

Namibia’s education department has announced plans to carry out nationwide payroll verification activities every two years in a bid to cut possible incidents of fraud.

The move follows the arrest of 18 teachers and two former Ministry of Education accountants in the Zambezi region of the country. Their alleged crimes were discovered in the wake of investigations into fraudulent payments in the Zambezi and Kavango East and West areas, which took place during November 2016 and January and February 2017.

The defendants have been accused of defrauding the government of N$10 million (US$74,000) between January 2012 and June 2016. They appeared in the Katima Mulilo Magistrates Court and the teachers were granted bail. The former accountants were not and remain in custody. Their case was postponed until 4 December.

Permanent secretary for education Sanet Steenkamp told the Namibian newspaper that the verification process had so far proven to be an invaluable exercise that would now be made mandatory.

“The exercise would be conducted once every two years and will be extended to non-teaching staff such as literacy promoters as well,” she said.

Steenkamp added that the initial audits were prompted by recurrent budget overspends, particularly relating to personnel, and intelligence from the public about the possible existence of so-called ‘ghost workers’.

“This critical exercise revealed some discrepancies about payment of salaries and allowances to staff members that have long resigned, retired or were dismissed from the public service, while there are still cases of teachers/support staff that have not signed as proof of existence during the verification process,” she said.