Five months after the Kenyan government directed state corporations to audit their employees’ qualifications, the cash-strapped Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) fired over 20 staff with fake academic papers. 

John Tonui, postmaster general, told TechCabal that the corporation sent the academic qualifications of employees to the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) for verification. Tonui said the exercise has not ended and could weed out more people who falsified documents to get jobs.  

This comes as the corporation readies a turnaround plan that will see it lay off over 500 workers as it rejigs its workforce to invest in new areas like e-commerce and cargo clearance. The ICT ministry-backed plan was approved by the company’s board in December 2023. 

“The directive came from the Public Service Commission (PSC) and out of 780 academic papers we submitted for verification, those of 29 employees turned out to be fake,” John Tonui, postmaster general told TechCabal.

The postal service is among 50 state corporations struggling with a bloated wage bill, and have been unable to turn on profit. While Tonui agreed that the clamp down on fake degrees is not part of the restructuring, he admitted that it would help the corporation achieve some of its restructuring goals. As part of the plan, PCK will reduce its headcount from 2,364 to 1,860.

“The intention all lead to the same goal of having a lean corporation that is profitable and attractive to investors. We are working to turn around Posta to ensure it delivers efficient last-mile connectivity,” Tonui said.

PCK’s business model took a beating after people ditched sending letters and new entrants like bus companies took over the courier business. According to government disclosure, the postal service has accumulated $45.9 million (KES6 billion) in losses over the past decade.

To stay afloat, the government has handed the company contracts to provide last-mile delivery of medical supplies and passports. It also has an agreement with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).  

Efforts by the ICT ministry to transform the corporation into an e-commerce and logistics service provider have hit numerous roadblocks including government bureaucracy, opposition from workers unions, and a tough operating environment that has seen established private players shut down.

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