The government of Mozambique has discovered thousands of fictitious workers on the government payroll, costing the state at least $250 million. The news is the latest in a series of financial scandals in the country.
The government of Mozambique has discovered some 30,000 workers on the government payroll were either dead or didn't exist, local media reported on Tuesday. The Public Service ministry said that this amounted to millions fraudulently taken from the public coffers of the cash-strapped nation.
The discovery was made while the government was carrying out checks to assess the effectiveness of employees.
"A proof-of-life test of the Mozambique civil service between 2015 and 2017 has detected around 30,000 'ghost' employees costing the equivalent of €220 million ($250 million)," Public Service Minister Carmelita Namashulua told Mozambique's state news agency.
Paying the wages of public workers amounts to about 55 percent of government expenditure.
Mozambique has been plagued by financial woes in recent years. In 2016, President Filipe Nyusi's administration was forced to admit it had secretly borrowed $2 billion to buy weapons. According to Transparency International's 2017 corruption perceptions index, Mozambique was rated the 153rd most corrupt country of 180.
Several large donors have frozen their aid to Mozambique over corruption worries, forcing the country to stop paying off its debts, deepening its economic woes.