Mozambique’s government has discovered more than 30,000 ghost workers on the civil service payroll.

The civil service minister said some were paid for jobs they had not done, others were dead or fabricated.

The fraud had cost the government around $250m (£198m) between 2015 and 2017, Carmelita Namashulua said.

She said the government recognized that state corruption was still a major problem in Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest nations.

Ms. Namashulua said other serious challenges facing the country-included favoritism, nepotism, illicit charges for admitting people to jobs in public administration and the falsification of licenses.

This came as a result when the government carried out proof-of-life tests, meaning that all civil service employees had to appear in person at a specified office to prove that they really existed.

At the end of the audit, those who failed to turn up stopped receiving their wages, he says.

The check, conducted over two years, investigated 348,000 workers.

Earlier this year, the government outlined plans to try to control spending, especially the public payroll that absorbs 55% of tax revenue, according to the state agency AIM.

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