LAHORE - Hundreds or may be thousands of ghost employees are withdrawing millions in salaries from Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) in connivance with the divisional officers and sub-divisional officers, official sources revealed to The Nation.

The sources said that these work-charged employees are regularly receiving salary from the agency, causing huge loss to national exchequer. All the divisional officers and Sub-divisional Officers are empowered to recruit work-charged employees according to their needs.

Often, they revise and send lists of these work-charge workers to the head office and Wasa finance department for getting approval of their appointment, the sources added.

After approval, salaries of all work-charged employees including ghost employees get transferred in the official account of the SDOs, who distribute the amount among the work-charged employees through supervisors.

“They [supervisors] get their share from salaries of almost all the work-charged employees every month and deduct half or more of the total salary of ghost employees. They pay them for using their national identity cards at the time of preparation of recruitment lists.

“They also can produce such ghost employees at the time of any inspection by high ranking officers or in case of any inquiry,” the sources told The Nation.

Wasa spokesman Imtiaz Ghouri said the agency has started screening process for detecting such ghost employees. “We have directed all divisional and sub-divisional officers to register all work-charged employees with Finance Department, and open accounts of them in branch of concerned bank.”

He added that the Director Finance was also personally monitoring the employees for detection of ghost employees. “For this purpose, he also appointed an official of Finance Section to check presence of all the work charge-charged employees in all the sub-divisions of the city secretly and submit report to him,” the spokesman disclosed to The Nation.

By changing system of salary payments, he said, most of the ghost employees would automatically be detected and ousted from the fake lists of employees. With the passage of time and through this screening process, all the remaining ghost employees would also be detected and removed from salary lists, he added.

According to the spokesman, the Wasa has also decided to regularise more than 400 work-charged employees, having good track record in their career in the agency. “Such regularisation will also help the agency to trace out ghost employees,” said Mr Ghouri.