Mozambique has identified some 30,000 non-existent civil servants on its payroll, the Public Service ministry said on Monday.
It said the ghost workers had cost the country €220 million in salaries and wages. The fraud was detected following a two-year audit that spanned between 2015 and 2017.
Following the operation, Maputo put its public sector workforce at 318,000.
Mozambique, which has over 50% of its budget devoted to the payment of government workers, has been going through financial difficulties over the past two years, which has weighed heavily on its economic performance.
In 2016, president Filipe Nyusi’s government was forced to admit to secretly borrowing $2 billion to buy arms.
Donors have sanctioned it by freezing their budget support. Maputo has since suspended its payments to its creditors and is seeking to renegotiate its debt.