John Magufuli
New Tanzanian president John Magufuli has launched an anti-corruption campaign in the country.Reuters

As part of a major anti-corruption drive, Tanzania has removed more than 10,000 non-existent workers from the public payroll. According to officials, the payroll audit will continue and more "ghost workers" are likely to be identified.

"We will identify those behind this payroll fraud and take them to court ... the fight against corruption is top priority for the government," Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said in an official statement, adding, it would save the exchequer more than 4.5 billion shillings ($2.832m, £1.9m) a month.

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Ranked 117 out of 167 countries in the Transparency International corruption index, Tanzania is struggling hard to make itself a corruption-free country.

Reformist President John Magufuli, popularly known as bulldozer, ordered the audit in March including several cost-cutting measures since coming to power. He recently cancelled the official celebrations for Independence Day in order to save money for the nation's development.

"We intend to have workers in government who are honest, accountable and hardworking. This is our priority and it is a non-stop initiative," Majaliwa said as reported by IPPMedia. He added: "We have decided to start with this anti-corruption drive and we are doing this to build a united front among Tanzanians so that every citizen enjoys the fruits of their country."

Kenya and Nigeria had also conducted an audit in early 2014 and February 2016 respectively, purging 12, 000 and 24, 000 "ghost workers"