ByÂ Anayo Okoli
Umuahiaâ€”ABIA State House of Assembly says it has uncovered a ghost workersâ€™ cartel in the council areas of the state, which it said has caused â€œendermic problemâ€Â in the local government system in the state.
The state lawmakers said,Â it has been discovered that senior staff of the councils, including, Heads of Service (HOS), Heads of Personnel Management (HPM), among others, enter names, including their children in schools and are drawing salaries on their behalf as council workers.
Meanwhile, the lawmakers said they are not on strike as reported in some newspapers. Though the House accepted that it lacks funds, it said such a thing was not enough reason for them to embark on strike, more so when the members realise that there is global economic problem,Â which also affected the state.
According the Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Chinedum Elechi, who is also the House Committee Chairman on Information, it would be very trivial for the House to contemplate going on strike for a mundane issue of lack of funds.
Elechi, who was flanked by Mr. Chidiebere Nwoko, House Chairman on Public Accounts, among others, said that the House had not in any way ruled that Governor Theodore Orji is mismanaging the state. According to him, the issue of mismanagement of state funds is a very serious matter, which could lead to the impeachment of the Governor.
In his contribution, Nwoko disclosed that his Committee in the course of its oversight functions, discovered that top council workers enlisted the names of their children, wards and relatives as ghost workers and have been drawing salaries on their behalf, an action which has contributedÂ to the depletion of funds of the councils.
According to him, some of this officers take home salaries of between 10 to 15 persons, each. Describing it as a racket, Nwoko said that the fraud took place in all the 17 council areas of the state.
Nwoko notedÂ that it was the same people that are now shouting over no funds in the councils. He said the people thought they were alleviating poverty but had ended up creating more poverty.
The House, however, assured that the lawmakers will put heads together with stakeholders to solve the problem before the next council elections coming in January next year