Niger govt traces N672m to ghost workers, fictitious salaries

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Niger state government says it has discovered that over N672 million has been lost to ghost workers and similar millions of naira to fictitious salary earners and claimants in the civil state service, hence the delays in the payment of salaries including May and June.

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

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

He described the on-going screening of civil servants 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, who expressed optimism that the results of the screening would be achieved said, “30 per centof each number of group invited for screening were never seen during the exercise, adding that fake certificates 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 allowance claims and salaries,” the commissioner said.

Those found wanting, Engineer Panti said, “will surely face the full wrath of the law according to the civil service rules and regulations.”

He promised that appropriate recommendations would be made to government, on financial misappropriation of public funds.

He noted that the exercise had been going on smoothly minding threats from some quarters, assuring that the committee would not deterred from doing the right thing, notwithstanding that some of the people indicted had started putting up their resignation.

The commissioner said all those found wanting would be brought to book, no matter their position, adding that, ‘some of them have 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 remain resolute in ensuring that the perpetrators of the crime and their collaborators will be fished out and prosecuted accordingly, ”he promised.

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