In Benue State, no fewer than 2,500 ghost employees have been discovered on local government units’ payrolls.
Hyacinth Alia, the governor of Benue State, revealed this in a news release distributed to journalists in Makurdi on Thursday and written by Kula Tersoo, his chief press secretary.
The governor stated that there was a need to sanitise and clean all the manipulations produced by the previous administration as the explanation for the delay in paying the salary of teachers in primary and post-primary schools as well as the local government personnel.
Alia claims that the examination of local government operations under the previous administration uncovered proof of payroll fraud and careless wage bill padding.
The following sentences were taken from the statement: “The governor claims the government discovered mindless wage bill stuffing and other fraudulent manipulations on their payroll before deciding to defer paying the wages of the aforementioned individuals.
“He says the decision became necessary after the discovery, to enable the government sanitize and cleanse the payroll; to ascertain the actual wage bill of the state, and to know the genuine workers that are worth their wages.
“He reveals that the first phase of an extensive staff verification and payroll audit for all teachers and local government staff has just been concluded, and it has already uncovered over 2500 ghost workers that have already been removed from the payroll.
“He identifies ghost workers, ghost schools, double dipping, unlawful employment, salary padding, payment to dead or retired individuals, unlawful replacement, and inflation of the wage bill, as some of the payroll infractions discovered from the audit.
“He assures that workers who were successfully screened will receive their salaries before the end of this week, noting that government is not only fishing out ghosts workers and removing the padding associated with payroll fraud but also putting in measures to ensure the systems are protected going forward.”
In order to let the state legislature to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into allegations of bad administration in the council regions, Alia had suspended the 23 local government chairman.