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Ghost staff, absenteeism rampant in Gulf countries – 38 probed for fake attendance

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KUWAIT CITY, March 2: Minister of Commerce and Industry Khalid Al-Rowdan has confirmed that 38 public sector employees were referred to the Public Prosecution for using fake fingerprints to register their attendance at work although they were absent, reports Al-Rai daily.

The daily quoted the minister as saying that co-workers of the erring employees utilized silicone fingertips to register attendance for their colleagues while taking extra caution to avoid the camera. Al-Rowdan revealed, “The erring employees were referred to the concerned authority and a circular was issued to all employees to ensure their faces are clear to the camera when registering their attendance with their fingerprints. Without a clear view of the face of the employee logging in, the attendance will be invalidated. All fingertip scanning machines are equipped with cameras. Apparently, some employees scanned their fingerprints while covering the cameras or kept their faces away.” He affirmed the Legal Affairs Department started conducting a thorough investigation after receiving information that employees did not show their faces while registering their attendance.

Meanwhile, a report published on the website of Gulf News Thursday pointed out that ghost employees and absenteeism are thorny issues in public institutions in the Gulf region and the authorities have been pressing for stringent action to stop these anomalies. In January, the director of a health centre in Saudi Arabia was sacked after a video highlighting his repeated absenteeism went viral on social media. The video taken by a patient showed the office of the director — as well as many other offices — empty, while elderly Saudi nationals waited in the main hall.

In December, the newly appointed mayor of Madinah in western Saudi Arabia imposed a fingerprint authentication system to track the physical presence of government employees on the premises five times a day during working hours. Under the new policy, 2,000 employees needed to prove their attendance throughout the seven working hours by using the fingerprint reader when they arrive, and again at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:45am and upon leaving. — gulfnews.com

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