Proof-of-life tests in Mozambique have revealed that 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 $250m (£198m) 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.
Ms Namashulua 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.