News / Africa

    Cameroon Works to Eliminate 'Ghost Workers' from Payroll

    FILE - Cameroonian soldier stands guard.
    FILE - Cameroonian soldier stands guard.
    Cameroon has started cleaning its payroll of so-called "ghost workers" who are believed to cost the country $12 million every month.  But the effort appears to also have impacted legitimate government workers - especially those in the military - who say they are not getting paid.  

    At a bank in Cameroon's capital. Yaounde, three soldiers quarreled with a cashier. They complained that they have not been receiving all of their salary for a few months. One of the soldiers, Didier Manda, told VOA that his salary had been reduced from about $500 to $380 per month and he can no longer provide all of his family's needs.

    He said it has been exactly three months without all of his salary and asked how he and his family can survive?  It is not normal, he said, adding that he needs all of his money.

    Another soldier, Fopa Nestor, who had taken a loan from his bank said what he earned for the month of December, 2013 was just enough to pay back the loan, so his monthly take home pay came up short.  It is unthinkable that somebody should work and not be paid as agreed to, he added.

    Last November, Cameroon announced that it was intensifying efforts to modernize its public service and rid it of people who rob the state by receiving undue benefits.

    Officials of the country's Ministry of Finance discovered that many workers submitted fake birth certificates to get child benefits.  Some continued to collect allowances paid to appointed officials even when they no longer had positions of responsibility.  Officials said claims were being made for civil servants who had moved abroad or who had died.

    Cameroon's minister of finance, Alamine Ousmane Mey, told VOA that the civil servants who saw a reduction in their salaries or found out that payments had been suspended, may have been those stealing from the state and there is now  a management system that detects such illegal payments.

    “The different advantages you get is automatically set in the system. It is not more manual, and doing it like this helps clean the payroll and those who unduly benefited from some advantages will be prevented from getting it any more,” said Mey.

    The minister said the military has been feeling the pinch this month because it has come under scrutiny.  However, he assured those whose salaries were unjustly reduced or not paid that they could file complaints for corrections to be made.

    “We will address the short comings with regards to their situation. This will help us establish those who deserve the payment and those who unfortunately did not," stated Mey.

    The government has not officially announced how much the fake employees were costing the government. But the Yaounde based non-governmental organization, Dynamique Citoyenne, that collaborates with the Cameroonian government in addressing governing issues, said $12 million may now be saved every month.

    The public has had mixed reactions to the effort to get rid of the ghost workers.

    University graduate, Ayeni Paul, who is a butcher in Yaounde, told VOA that he has hopes of a higher paying government job since huge sums of money are now being saved.

    “People fake documents to claim more salaries. There are many people not only in the military. They [the government] should go to all levels and check. They should continue with their efforts to fight corruption,” said Paul.

    Wirkom Martin, 23, a college student, said he has no confidence in the reforms because Cameroonians are very corrupt.

    Cameroon has been classified by Transparency International on two occasions as the most corrupt country in the world.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora