By George Onah

Port Harcourt- Alarmed by the sudden increase in the wage bill of Rivers State, Governor Chibuike Amaechi has ordered immediate inquiry into the bloated nominal roll and salary increase of the workers.

Vanguard gathered that before October salary, the governor was told that the state had 46,000 workers and a wage bill of N7.2 billion. However, on being presented with the document for October salary, the figure rose to 49,000. The governor rejected the document.

Also, salary for the staffers in excess of 3,000 had gone up to N7.8 billion, prompting Amaechi to order the Head of Service and Commissioner for Finance to explain how the state government acquired the figure without instructions for fresh employment.

It was learnt that the discovery was traced to the planned payment of the new minimum wage by the state government, which would have taken-off in October 2011.

The discovery had caused delay in the payment of the new wage and October salary.

An angry staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The excess of N.6 billion would have been lost to the ghost workers and ended up in the pockets of some fraudulent top civil servants and their collaborators ‘in high places,’ had the governor not detected the mysterious increase.”

It was gathered that civil servants started wearing long faces and cursing the architects of their misfortune when news broke that the planned “juicy” long Muslim holiday had hit the rocks because salaries would not be paid until the matter was settled.

Some civil servants, who gathered in small numbers discussing the matter, called for the heads of all concerned.


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