June 28, 2020

FRAUD: 11,000 ghost workers, N672m fictitious payments uncovered in Niger

Sani Bello

Niger State Gov Sani Bello

By Wole Mosadomi, Minna

Large scale fraud has been uncovered in the Niger State Civil Service as no fewer than 11,000 Civil Servants have been discovered to be ghosts.

Similarly, N672m has been recovered as Salaries paid monthly to the ghost workers while the undisclosed amount of money running into millions of Naira have also been uncovered as money paid to other fictitious Salary earners.

This was disclosed by the State Chairman Salary Management Committee and Commissioner for Works and Infrastructural Development, Engr. Ibrahim Panti while speaking on the State Radio Station “Feedback” in Minna yesterday.

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He said the Screening of all Categories of workers in the state had become necessary because of the bogus monthly wages being paid by the state government which can no longer be sustained by the government.

He disclosed that with the present wages, 98% of monthly allocation from the Federal government goes into salary payments leaving only 2% to other developmental projects.

He said as at now, the June Salaries have not been paid because of the screening. According to him,” 30% of each number of groups invited for screening was never seen during the exercise and with those we have screened so far, there are many fake academic Certificates uncovered.

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“Out of over 1,000 invited so far for the screening, between 600 to 700 attended while many others are yet to be seen.

“About 36,000 lists of civil servants were initially presented to the committee when we started the screening. We succeeded in pruning the number to 27,000 and later to 25,000.

“We later discovered different serial numbers with the same BVN, repeated names with different bank accounts and fictitious allowances and salaries,” he revealed.

Panti said unlike the previous screening undertaken by both previous and present administrations without any disciplinary actions taken, those found guilty in the present exercise will be made to face the Civil Service Rules and regulations and punished accordingly.

The Commissioner said though he and other members of the screening committee have received  threat to their lives, he affirmed that they remain resolute in discharging their work without any fear assuring that the exercise will be concluded and their report submitted to the government to take the final step.

Meanwhile, there is a strong indication that the salaries of workers in the state may be cut by 20% due to the dwindling economic situation and bogus salaries of civil servants which government is claiming to be too outrageous and affecting other developmental projects in the state.

The Commissioner when asked to confirm the rumour neither confirm nor deny but simply said, “government and Labour are still negotiating on the matter.”