Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State has identified ghost workers, ghost schools, double-dipping, unlawful employment, salary padding, payment to dead or retired individuals, unlawful replacement, inflation of the wage bill, as some of the payroll infractions discovered from an audit of the work force in the state civil service.
To deal with the infractions and bare-faced criminality by some of the workers, the state chief executive has threatened to hand culprits over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.
Tersoo Kula, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, disclosed this in a statement shortly before members of the Correspondents’ Chapel, led by its new Chairman, Emmanuel Antswen, visited his office in Makurdi, the state capital, on Friday.
The CPS while speaking with members of Correspondents’ chapel of NUJ observed that during the screening exercise it was discovered that most of the workers only existed on the payrolls, adding that in some instances, it was discovered that some persons were collecting salary in three different places at a time.
He further explained that the Governor had to stop the payment of salaries in order to ensure that sanity was restored in the payroll system of the state as he stressed that the exercise which was still ongoing with time would expose more of those that were behind the illegality.
He added that government was making efforts to smoke out those that were behind unwholesome practices in the state civil service, just as he dared anyone whose salary has been stopped to come out publicly and make such complaints.
Kula insisted that persons (ghost workers) who were collecting salaries as senior staff would be handed over to the EFCC for investigation and possible prosecution.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Correspondents’ chapel, Emmanuel Antswen of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) pledged the support of members of the chapel to the success of the Alia administration.
He appreciated Governor Alia for finding Kula worthy of the appointment and appealed to the CPS to ensure that he removes every impediment that would affect members of chapel from diligently carrying out their duties.
Antswen further told the CPS that members of the chapel were working in unity and in one accord, stressing that, “We (leadership) intend to carry every member along.”