Tanzania purges 10,000 non-existent employees

Tanzanian president continues his anti-corruption drive.

Tanzania has removed more than 10,000 "ghost workers" from its public sector payroll as part of an ongoing crackdown on corruption and waste.

The government says that payments to the non-existent employees had been costing the nation over $2 million a month, and that efforts are continuing to uncover further fraud.

The purge is part of an aggressive campaign by the country's president John Magufuli who, since his election last November, has lived up to his pledge to root out corruption and reduce wasteful public expenditure. The money saved is directed towards development, in a move that has been largely popular with the electorate.

Nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, Magufuli has announced a range of cost-cutting measures and fired a raft of government agency heads in recent months, including the chiefs of the country’s anti-corruption body and Tanzania Railways. He also disbanded the regulatory agency that governs the country's telecoms sector over claims that the watchdog had cost the nation around $180 million annually in lost tax revenues.

Magufuli's crackdown began when he scrapped Independence Day celebrations in December, marking the first time in 54 years that the country did not commemorate independence from Britain. The $2 million set aside for the festivities was instead used to build roads in Dar es Salaam.