A headcount of workers at Nairobi City Council in Kenya shows at least 4,000 "ghost workers" have been on the payroll.
Kibaki has pledged to crack down on corruption
There have long been claims that retired, deceased or even non-existent staff are kept on the payroll fraudulently by officials who pocket their salaries.
So at the Nairobi City Stadium on Sunday, each council worker was required to bring an appointment letter, an identification card from the council and their National Identity Card in order to establish their eligibility.
Local Government Minister Karissa Maitha ordered the count believing the genuine number of employees was likely to be way below the 21,000 employees on its payroll.
On Monday, he revealed that his initiative had led to death threats.
"Those who have been milking the council of millions of shillings have even threatened to kill me and the new City Treasurer George Wambua for closing their taps," he told the Daily Nation.
Euro Bank was in favour under Daniel arap Moi
"But I have never been a coward in my life; so my war on corruption in local authorities will continue."
He said initial figures suggested that the total payroll figure now was already down to 17,000 and could go down to 15,000 "since we have information some ghost workers were earning as many as four salaries using different names".
During his inauguration in February, President Mwai Kibaki promised to expose and punish corruption, endemic during the regime of his predecessor Daniel arap Moi.
During the lengthy process, ambulance staff were called in to administer first aid to fainting city council workers stuck in long queues.
The ghost worker issue have been an on and off affair in various institutions in the country in the past.
Ten years ago the Government ordered the Teachers Service Commission to count all its members, after it had discovered that salaries were being paid to teachers who were no longer in the service and in some cases to dead ones.
But nobody was charged.