More than 250,000 civil servants have been targeted for lay off with the commencement of a crack down on fake certificate holders.
According to an announcement from the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA), those found to have gained employment in the civil service will also be fined up to three times their earnings.
“This (audit) is a programme that will start as soon as the next financial year. If we find that you used a fake certificate to get employment in civil service, then you are liable to return what you have earned all those years, three-fold. You are also liable to criminal prosecution,” said KNQA director general Dr Juma Mukhwana.
This comes even as President Uhuru Kenyatta gave the agency a 30-day ultimatum to issue a policy framework for recognition of informal-sector skills.
He said that Kenyans who had gained sufficient technical skills through informal training or work experience also deserved to be certified despite college or university training.
The crackdown by KNQA will also rope in the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in cross checking the authenticity of the academic certificates.
“Our estimate is that 30 per cent of the certificates are fake. It is very unfair that I sit in a university for four years, and someone else just gets a similar certificate in five minutes. You even find some cases where one has a degree purported to have been acquired long before he supposedly cleared his secondary education,” Dr Mukhwana added.
A section of those targeted acquired certificates from institutions which are not credited to offer them, others did not meet the requirements needed to study the course while the rest never went to the said colleges or universities.
The agency is also tapping whistleblowers in exposing the suspects through a process where they can report anonymously.
“You can anonymously report that your fellow co-employee has a fake certificate and we shall take it up. You don’t have to reveal yourself and that is why we need collaborative mechanisms to end this menace in our country,” said Dr Mukhwana.
The government uses at least Sh620 billion to pay 842,000 civil servants every year