Nantu appalled by ghost teachers practice

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Albertina Nakale
Windhoek

The Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) leadership has expressed shock at learning that some teachers are
receiving salaries or allowances that they are not entitled to.

The Namibian education fraternity has been rocked by allegations of ghost teachers, who are on the government’s payroll and receiving salaries for no work done.

Nantu secretary-general Basilius Haingura said the union is aware that everybody desperately needs money to maintain a decent standard of living.

“We would, however, advise all our members in particular and teachers in general to approach their salary offices when receiving funds in their accounts whose origin they do not know instead of utilising the money. We know it’s not your wish, but accepting such funds is a corrupt practice,” he urged.

To curb this corrupt practice, the education ministry last year, literally, started counting the number of teachers and non-teaching staff at every school and education office in every region to see if the numbers tally with those on the payroll – amid fears that a good number comprises ‘ghost employees’.

Through this process of verification, more than 20 teachers and officials suspected of defrauding the government of N$10 million were arrested in the Zambezi Region. The payroll verification exercise commenced in mid-2016 with the assistance of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West regions.

Among the more than 20 people arrested are teachers, accountants, administrative clerks and people who either once worked as substitution teachers on contract or teachers who resigned.

The group is alleged to have defrauded the government of N$10 million by claiming salaries that were either overinflated or they were not entitled to, in the period between 2011 and 2016.

All were on the payroll of the education regional offices for the Zambezi Region.

The teachers stand accused of fraud, money laundering, alternatively theft and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act by defrauding the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture between 2011 and 2016.
Kavango East and Kavango West are the other two regions identified as ‘problematic’ in this regard, and where verifications have unearthed some irregularities.

Files for the two regions have already been submitted to the police to start criminal investigations.
During 2015, an assessment by PricewaterhouseCoopers exposed that the education ministry was paying full salaries to about 6,000 ghost teachers.

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