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TSC in Trouble Over Ksh358m excess Teachers’ Salaries Scandal

The teachers service commission, TSC is on the spot over payment of excess salaries amounting to ksh385 million. This has ignited concerns over the integrity of the commission’s multibillion-shilling payroll.

An audit of the payroll conducted by the auditor general revealed that TSC paid ksh33 million in excess of salary to 32 teachers alone.

In total, there was over ksh352,853,152 in excess payouts flagged during the audit of the TSC’s books of accounts.

The overpayment granted to teachers and staff was exposed after failure by TSC to explain the origin of the payments and how they piled up to the hundreds of millions.

“The origin and the build-up of the salary overpayments have not been explained,” reads the report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu.

Gathungu further confirmed her doubts doubts that TSC would not recover the money.

“The repayment period for the recovery of the outstanding amounts is beyond the retirement age of the respective teachers,” the auditor said in respect of the 32 teachers.

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Gathungu added that in the ensuing circumstances, “the recoverability of the ‘salary overpayment’ balance is, therefore, doubtful”.

The auditor cited a case of Sh10,416,781, which is part of the Sh352 million, that the commission had not received payment for over two years, “casting doubts on the recovery of the [entire] amount.”

The auditor said the review also revealed that the commission has no proper internal controls to avert losses through such payments.

“The existence of an effective internal control to safeguard loss of public resources could be confirmed,” she explained.

The revelation escalates concerns about how porous payrolls and lists for entities whose interventions involve the disbursement of cash are.

TSC is among state agencies with huge budgets. In the current financial year, it has been allocated Sh296 billion.

Several audits have flagged the education sector for irregularities in the disbursement of cash from school fees subsidies to capitation fees for technical colleges.

The Vocational and Technical Training department domiciled at the Education ministry may have lost more than Sh6.2 billion in the last financial year from inflated student numbers and unsupported disbursements to colleges.

Part of the amount was Sh2.5 billion, which the audit revealed was disbursed during the Covid-19 lockdown when students were not in session.

The Education ministry was recently called for failing to account for Sh2 billion in respect of government subsidies to primary and secondary schools, and tertiary colleges.

Instances of disbursement to non-existent schools, inflation of student numbers and duplication of allocations were pointed out.

The commission has also been flagged for poor management of salary advances to staff, some of whom the audit established were given additional advances before settling those that were due.

Gathungu said it was in doubt if the TSC would recover Sh2,125,414 “described as undefined recoveries whose composition and support documents were not provided for audit review.”

“Further, Sh4,264,665 in respect of 145 staff had no movement over the last 12 months,” the audit revealed.

“Management did not give any reason for non-recovery of the salary advances.”

TSC has also been queried over disbursements of cash to counties after the commission failed to provide a breakdown of the amounts owed by each county for audit review.

Gathungu has also queried non-remittance of Pay as You Earn tax of over Sh2.2 billion that was due from 5,412 commission staff and 25 staffers of the secretariat.

The audit revealed that the deductions were not done on the grounds that the employees were persons with disabilities.

But Gathungu said a review of the payroll revealed that employees with special needs had special codes 2-9 yet the ones paid had code 0.

The auditor said this denoted that they are not people with special needs and had not been exempted from paying income tax by the Kenya Revenue Authority.

“Failure to deduct and remit Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax is contrary to the Income Tax Act CAP 470. Consequently, the management was in breach of the law,” she said.

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