The Democratic Republic of Congo's Inspectorate General of Finance (IGF) has revealed massive fraud in the public payroll department, where dozens of fictitious employees cost the state nearly $800 million a year.
According to the findings of an audit of the government's payroll, the IGF noted numerous irregularities, with tens of thousands of fictitious employees.
Each month, "the monthly loss of earnings suffered by the Treasury is 148,999,749,440.95 Congolese francs (or 66.2 million dollars)," said the IGF in a statement dated Thursday, concerning the audit conducted by its services.
The Congolese public finance watchdog says that more than 145,000 paid agents have "incorrect, fictitious and fabricated registration numbers for payroll purposes".
Also, more than 40,000 agents are paid without their names appearing on the declaratory lists from the services that employ them, while more than 90,000 agents "share the same registration number with other agents who are also paid.
The IGF has promised to transmit to the judicial authorities the list of 961 state agents involved in this "mafia network".
Already, "some cases of obvious irregularities are subject to deactivation" on the payroll of state services, the same source added.
For 2023, the DRC's budget is estimated at 16 billion dollars.
Despite the country's vast natural resources, poverty is rampant. Nearly two-thirds of the country's approximately 100 million inhabitants live on less than $2.15 a day, the international poverty line, according to the World Bank.
The country ranks 169th out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2021 ranking.