Niger govt spends N672m on ‘ghost workers’

By Ummi Ismaeel, Minna

Niger State government has lost over over N672 million through payment of salaries to ghost workers.
It also explained that the discovery of the scam led to the delay in payment of June salaries to civil servants in the state.

The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructural Development, Mr. Ibrahim Panti, who is also the chairman, Niger State Salary Management Committee, disclosed this while explaining the reasons for the delay in the payments of June salary.

Panti lamented the level of corruption within state civil service and its attendant consequences to the state civil service.
He said that about 98 percent of the entire allocation to the state goes into salary payment and almost nothing for other areas, including infrastructural development.

He described the on-going screening as a necessary evil that must be tolerated if the state must recover huge sums of money lost to ghost workers and different strategies deployed by unpatriotic elements within the system to siphon state monies over the years.

The commissioner said that he was optimistic that the expected results would be achieved from the screening.
According to him, “30 percent of each numbers of group invited for screening were never seen during the exercise and fake certificates unclaimed were also discovered during the exercise.
“Out of 1,000 people invited, between 600 to 700 came for the actual screening, while 100 we saw 70 or less, out of 1,451 persons screened 461 is on hold, 21 of them retirees were rejected while 259 others never appeared for the exercise.
“About 36,000 lists of civil servants were presented to the committee, when we started the screening we brought it down to 27,000 and again to 25,000. We later discovered different serial numbers with the same BVN, repeated names with different bank accounts and fictitious allowances claims and salaries”.

Those found wanting, Panti said would surely face the full wrath of the law according to the civil service rules and regulations and appropriate recommendations would be made to government in report on financial misappropriation of public funds.

The commissioner said that all those found wanting would be brought to book, adding, “some of them had run to traditional rulers for intervention and as well resorted to blackmail to cover their tracks.
“No matter how dark and hypocritical they had gone, I assure you that this committee remains resolute in its stand of ensuring that the perpetuators and their collaborators will be fished out and prosecuted accordingly”.

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