June 19, 2009

We’ll burst employment racket syndicate, Bayelsa govt vows

By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—The Director General of Bayelsa Due Process Bureau, Mr. Von Kemedi, declared yesterday that no amount of intimidation would make the bureau to waver in its ongoing biometric capture exercise of civil servants in the state, saying some top government officials were under surveillance over their involvement in employment racketeering.

Vanguard investigation revealed that a powerful syndicate is believed to be behind the state’s bloated workforce which is estimated at 54,330.

A breakdown of the estimated figure shows the main civil service having 7,000; boards/agencies/NDU/BYCAS 15,830; SUBEB 14,500; and local government authorities 17,000 but this is expected to be pruned down and the actual workforce known at the end of the biometric capturing exercise to ensure greater efficiency in resource management.

Kemedi, who confirmed Vanguard’s finding yesterday, said the security agencies would close in on the identified officials at the appropriate time and would be made to face the wrath of the law on the conclusion of ongoing investigation.

He lamented the current wage bill of N2.6bn in Bayelsa which, according to him, is the financial inflow of some states in the federation, adding that government cannot afford to fold its arms and watch the state resources being wasted by some few persons.

“We have received several threats which we simply ignored because the security agencies are on top of the situation,” he revealed, adding, “15 persons have so far been arrested and are undergoing police investigation.”

The bureau, he said, has so far covered 67 MDAs and has attended to Bayelsa State government staff, noting that out of the 11,332 figure expected till date for the biometric capture exercise, only 10,373 have shown up, while 959 failed to turn up.

According to him, a total of 7,550 were successful while 2,823 failed during the screening exercise due to discrepancies in the documents tendered and were referred to a committee for further investigation.

“These figures exclude the Environmental Sanitation Authority’s staff exercise that was cancelled due to irregularities,” he added.

On the alleged 54,330 workforce, Kamedi said “what we have is merely a claim but at the end of the exercise, we are surely going to get the actual figure.”

He thanked all ministries, departments and agencies for their cooperation, assuring that the exercise was in the overall interest of the young state.