Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia has frozen all county expenditure pending an audit.
Mr Kimemia has also ordered ghost workers and county staff who have been drawing more than one salary to refund the money within the next 30 days.
Addressing his first county Cabinet meeting attended by chief officers on Tuesday, the governor said it had been revealed that some county staff were earning more than one salary, stating that the planned payroll audit would expose more culprits.
“The excess salary is part of public assets I intend to recover in 30 days. The same will happen with all ghost workers,” he said.
The governor said he was aware many county officers could not be accounted for.
“There are many who cannot say what they have done for Nyandarua in the last five years they have been on the payroll,” he said.
Mr Kimemia, who was sworn in on Monday, said people must respect public resources and that inculcating the culture of honesty and professionalism should start immediately.
He said there would be no excuse for those culpable of misuse of public resources and vowed to deal with them.
On Monday when he took the oath of office, the governor said any county employee in possession of any public property in Nyandarua had 90 days to return them or face the law.
Mr Francis Kimemia said his priority was to recover all public assets, including a needle.
“It is not in my nature to witch-hunt, it’s not my wish to take anyone to jail, but you must surrender what does not belong to you. I give you a 90-day amnesty,” said the governor.
He said the audit would be extended to books of accounts, funded projects and county staff.
“My administration is going to be efficient. We must offer services not as a privilege but as a right to the people we are required to serve. We are going to restructure how things are done, we cannot have an unsustainable wage bill at the expense of development projects,” he added.
He said the audit on projects would be done to evaluate if Nyandarua people got value for money, and those found to have cheated will either face the law or refund the amounts.
On Tuesday when he addressed his first Cabinet meeting, Mr Kimemia said he would initiate a transformative strategy akin to that of the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) government when it took power.
“When Narc took over power from the Kanu regime, we realized that we could not proceed without a reform strategy. The first change I want to see in this county is the change of mindset and attitude among all public servants,” said the governor.
He said the envisaged reforms strategy would be emulated by other counties and beyond, with an introduction of an improved Rapid Results Initiative targeting key priority areas in the county.
And speaking in his office on Tuesday, the governor said he wanted all civil servants in Nyandarua placed under the hardship allowance scheme, and the county to benefit from the equalisation fund.
He said Nyandarua is less developed compared to other counties in the region, noting that President Uhuru Kenyatta had declared it a marginal county at a leaders meeting last year.
“We are going to heavily invest in capacity building of our staff to make sure they are the best. Where there is deficit we shall undertake balancing. Since the president has already declared Nyandarua a marginalised county I will pursue to ensure we get a share of equalisation fund,” he said.
He also promised to restructure the public service in the county to ensure that people are employed for the jobs they qualify so that “we don’t have idlers across the county”.