YAOUNDE - Cameroon says it does not recognize more than 10,000 people claiming salaries as state workers. Authorities published the names for a second time Tuesday as the country struggles to clean its payroll of "ghost workers" who cost the central African nation an estimated $12 million every month.
Thousands of state workers from the hinterlands have been trooping to the capital, Yaounde, to find out if their names are on the list of 10 000 suspected fake employees published this week.
Teacher Emmerencia Ndum from northwestern Cameroon found his name on the list but says he is still working.
"I just came to verify my own name but I am always in service," he said. "I just came because there are mistakes that have been made. Some people are here. Their names are there while they are always in service. It is a list of those teachers, call them ghost teachers, who have not always been in service."
Government workers have one week to verify their service. The salaries of all those not identified will be suspended.
Ako Chancel is a government official supervising the campaign to clean up the state payroll.
"Somebody can be recruited, then at a given moment he abandons his job," said Ako Chancel, a government official supervising the campaign to clean up the state payroll. "Maybe he has got a better job abroad and maybe through relatives, he continues to take his salary. It can also be that some of them are late [dead] but their salaries continue to passed [paid]. We need to know who has been taking that salary."
Chancel said one week is enough time for verification because they do not want people who are overseas to have time to return and be identified with the complicity from corrupt government officials.
Cameroon has 220,000 state workers, excluding the military and police. Officials say as many as 50,000 of them could be ghost workers.