The causes and remedies for perennial ghost workers fraud in payroll in Tanzania


  • Oscar Tefurukwa School of Publication and Management, Mzumbe University, Tanzania
  • Kassim Bwaki School of Publication and Management Mzumbe University, Morogoro-Tanzania


Payroll Fraud, Corporations - Corrupt practices, Fraud - Prevention, Ghost workers


With the advent of information communication technology (ICT), Tanzania launched human capital management information systems (HCMIS) to create, store, and share human resource information to solve perennial challenges like ghost workers on the payroll. Despite these efforts, ghost worker fraud on the payroll remains a recurrent problem. This situation undermines the quality of public service and creates losses on the wage bill. Previous studies did not clearly explain the reasons for perennial ghost workers on the payroll in Tanzania. Therefore, the paper explains the causes of perennial ghost workers on the payroll and proposes potential measures to curb it.  Data were collected from the President's Office, Public Service Management and Good Governance which is the custodian of Human Capital Management Systems of all government public offices in the Tanzanian government. Drawing from a thematic analysis of ten interviews and a systematic literature review, the paper provides insights into the subject matter. Findings reveal that HCMIS is not a panacea in addressing perennial ghost workers fraud on the payroll. It depends on ethical and professional bureaucrats. However, the persistence of ghost workers on the payroll is amplified by the weak management systems and unethical bureaucrats’ lust to squander public funds on the payroll. Without strengthening HCMIS and taking stern measures to prosecute fraudsters and regain lost funds and trust, ghost workers will be a common feature of the payroll in Tanzania.