By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT – HARCOURT— CHAIRMAN of Obio Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers State, Prince Solomon Eke, has said his administration was contending with “mind boggling payroll fraud,” including dead workers who continue to draw monthly salaries from the council.
Eke yesterday, while presenting his scorecard at the Obio Akpor Council Chambers, Rumuodomaya, to mark his administration’s first year in office, said the challenge meant that the council’s monthly allocation hovering between N180 million and N190 million is swallowed by salaries which is within the same range.
He said, “We practically cannot take up any serious activity because of the huge wage bill. This situation prompted the ongoing staff audit and verification in the council. This is the puzzle the Special Verification Committee will help unravel.
“We are already having some mind boggling revelations. Imagine that we have a lot of ghost workers on the payroll. Some dead workers are still receiving salaries. Some people are taking double salaries, some others are likely receiving salaries above their grade levels. We expect the audit exercise to clean up the mess.”
Despite the financial difficulties, Eke said his administration in one year has been able to initiate a health insurance scheme allowing anyone resident or doing business in the locality to register with N4,000 and get free medical treatment on a wide range of ailments.
On security in volatile Obio Akpor council, Eke said his partial ban of commercial tricycle (Keke) operations has started yielded useful results with security operatives and residents attesting to the gradual drop in crime rate in the locality.