By BOLUWAJI OBAHOPO
LOKOJA – The committee handling the screening and verification exercise of civil servants in Kogi State has discovered 3000 accounts operated by ghost workers.
Chairman of the screening exercise, Brig. General Paul Okutimo (Rtd) who made the sterling revelation Wednesday in Lokoja while speaking with newsmen also said the committee discovered N20 million being siphoned every month by top civil servant handling the state pension scheme.
Okutimo however denounce the rumour that the exercise was out to retrenched workers said, it was set up to identified the genuine workers and restructure the civil service.
“I promised that no worker in the state would be unjustly screened out of work. The move is to sanitise the system and ensure that only genuine workers are paid with the state’s resources.
“From the exercise we discovered that those cabals operates 3000 accounts for ghost workers. One of them operates 63 different accounts, while another has 23 accounts”.
“Some of them uses their ATM from ‘diaspora’ while some just get the employment on political patronage and will not come to work but get engaged in others activities.
“Apart from thousands of account numbers opened to service ghost workers in the state, the committee also discovered existence of ghost schools in various parts of the state during the exercise.
“Many of the schools existed on the records of education secretaries in the local government areas, but the on the spot verification exercise embarked upon by the committee revealed that such schools were not on ground.”
Though he did not disclosed the actual figures of the ghost workers so far discovered, but said only those who are have fake certificates; the identified ghost names; those employed but not visible in the offices and those redundant at their duty post will be recommended for sack.
He said contrary to the claim by the organised labour in the state, the committee had painstakingly worked since February 28 that it was inaugurated to ensure that the state has a clean payroll, “The opposition of the leadership of the labour unions to the process was because many of them did not understand the workings of the committee.
On the protest over the lists of screened workers send to the local government areas, the chairman said those list were the first batch to be sent, adding that two other batches would be forwarded to the 21 local government areas of the state.
He however said at the end of the exercise, the committee would published three lists which would be for those that were screened in, those that were screened out and those with controversies but that could still be rectified.
He explained that the lists were being released in batches in order not to delay the payment of salaries of those that had already scaled through, saying the whole exercise would be completed in less than one week from now.
Okuntimo also denied the allegation that the committee had screened out people from level 14 and above or those that had only two more years to spend in service, said the committee could only make recommendations on such to the governor for his approval.