Mozambique’s government has discovered more than 30,000 ghost workers on the civil service payroll.
The civil service minister said some were paid for jobs they had not done, others were dead or fictitious.
The fraud had cost the government around $250million between 2015 and 2017, Carmelita Namashulua said.
She said the government recognised that state corruption was still a major problem in Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest nations.
The southern African nation is ranked 153 out of 180 countries by watchdog Transparency International in its global corruption perceptions index.
The civil service minister said other serious challenges facing the country included favouritism, nepotism, illicit charges for admitting people to jobs in public administration and the falsification of licences.
The BBC’s Jose Tembe in the capital, Maputo, says the government carried out proof-of-life tests, meaning that all civil service employees had to appear in person at a specified office to prove that they really existed.