The Mombasa County Assembly has launched an inquiry into the recruitment of 550 interns, a figure that significantly surpasses the initially advertised 300 positions. This move follows concerns raised by Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) regarding the transparency and adherence to procedures in the recruitment process.

The Labour and Public Service Administration Committee summoned County Public Service Board CEO Fadhili Ali to provide insights into the recruitment process and address concerns regarding the lack of public participation. In response, Ali explained that the increase to 550 interns was prompted by requests from the Departments of Environment and Fisheries for an additional 200 interns. He justified this decision as a cost-saving measure, avoiding the need for a separate advertisement by accommodating the additional positions within the existing pool of applicants.

During the inquiry, scrutiny intensified over the qualifications of the recruited interns. It was revealed that out of the 550 selected individuals, 144 held degrees, 145 possessed diplomas, and 261 had certificates. This distribution raised eyebrows among committee members, particularly concerning the discrepancy between the advertised qualifications and the actual recruitment numbers.

Fadhili Makarani, among others, expressed concern over the overrepresentation of certain qualification levels compared to the initial requirements outlined in the advertisement. Questions were raised regarding the transparency of the process, especially regarding the allocation of interns across different sub-counties. Committee member Milka Moraa highlighted disparities in application numbers and sought clarification on the criteria used for distribution.

Additionally, concerns were voiced regarding the budgetary implications of the intern recruitment and the monthly payments. Ali disclosed that the county was incurring a wage bill of Sh11 million per month for the recruited interns, prompting further inquiries into the financial sustainability of the program.

Further scrutiny was directed towards allegations of interns being absorbed into permanent positions. Although Ali denied such absorption, he acknowledged that 22 interns had been given contracts linked to the terms of county executive members.

The committee also sought clarification from County Public Service Administration Chief Officer Justina Mwikya regarding a human resource audit initiated by Governor Abdulswamad Nassir in 2022. Despite Mwikya’s explanation of the audit’s purpose to identify ghost workers and update the employee database, committee members expressed dissatisfaction with the accuracy of the audit process and requested a revised report.

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