Bauchi: Payroll Audit Uncovers 26,000 Ghost Workers, N1 Billion Saved within 2 MonthsExclusive Reports, Latest News, News Saturday, May 21st, 2016
As Retiring HOS Fingered, Implicated in The Scam
BAUCHI, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A mind boggling staff scandal has been uncovered within the Bauchi State Government. Due to the development, 26,000 ghost workers, representing about 25 per cent of total 105,000 purportedly State workers, have been discovered.
The exposed scam has resulted to suspension, by State Government, of two Permanent Secretaries; six directors; 22 senior State and local government staff and all pension desk officers in the 20 local government areas of the North West State.
Investigation by Frontiers news showed that the fraud came to public glare during the staff verification exercise directed by Governor Mohammed Abubakar. The exercise our Correspondent was reliably told started two months ago and it has since saved the State a whooping sum of N1 billion.
Apparently attempting to shield his involvement in the stinking staff racket, a top government official of the state confirmed that the immediate past State’s Head of the Civil Service (HOS) is frustrating successful outcome of the exercise.
Our correspondent exclusively gathered that out of 105,000 speculated staff of the State, only 79,000 has been verified and confirmed to be authentic while 26,000 are believed to be ghost workers. Although, our findings indicated that the verification exercise is yet to be concluded.
Following the discovery, the State Government, another top government source confirmed Thursday, has been able to save about N1 billion. The source gave hope that more savings are likely when the exercise is concluded.
Our correspondent gathered that the former HOS along with some top and powerful officials of the government have been fingered in the scam. It was learnt that the ex-HOS hurriedly proceeded on retirement leave, on Monday, in an attempt to frustrate the State Governor’s effort in sanitising the state civil service, as well as ensuring that individuals loyal to him are among the verification team.
Consequently, sources confirmed to our Correspondent that “the retiring HOS maybe recalled to answer some critical questions pertaining to the bloated staff strength of the state. He will need to explain to the government the persons who has been collecting the N1 billion that the state has been paying over the years. The way things are going, the former HOS won’t escape the hammer of the state government over his alleged role in the manipulation of the staff figures in the State”.
“There is no way that such monumental fraud would be happening in the state without the knowledge of the head of the civil service. We are still investigating the matter and if he is found to be culpable, he would be punished appropriately,” the source stated further.
Our correspondent’s was told by a top civil servant in the state that in the past, some “powerful individuals” in the state were in the habit of collecting huge sums on behalf of non-existent workers, citing the case of a particular individual, who for several years pocketed the salaries of 48 civil servants”.
It would be recalled Governor Abubabar’s staff verification exercise which started a few months ago had cleansed corrupt officers within the State’s Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) as well as the Pension board.
“In the last regime, corruption was at the peak. Then, some powerful individuals were just taking state funds without questions because they had god fathers. People received as much as salaries of 48 ghost workers. That was the order of the day and the reason why the resources of the State are so inadequate to be able to build infrastructure for the electorates” a source disclosed.
In the meantime, Governor Abubakar has set up a compliant committee to listen to genuine cases of staff who feel unfairly treated during the verification exercise. In addition, the Governor has set up an investigative committee to look into the degree of culpability of all those who have been found wanting with a view to pronounce appropriate punishment.
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