Finance Ministry drags ghost workers to ICPC

Posted by News Express | 12 March 2014 | 3,457 times

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The Federal Ministry of Finance has invited the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to step in and conduct further investigation into the issue of ghost workers in the federal work force with a view to identifying the culprits and making them to face the full wrath of the law.

Paul C Nwabuikwu, Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja this evening. The statement said:

In response to media reports and enquiries regarding a recent court judgment involving the Federal Ministry of Finance, we wish to clarify as follows:

•Contrary to some media reports, the Ministry did not reject any requests for information from civil society groups on appropriations and statutory transfers.

•It is public knowledge that the ministry has consistently implemented a policy of transparency and accountability in the management of the economy and public finances. This is demonstrated in the monthly publication of allocations to the three tiers of government, regular updates on the status of funding of SURE-P programmes, payments to oil marketers for verified imports of petroleum products as well as other information.

•We therefore have no basis for rejecting any legitimate requests for information on allocations to any government ministry or agency.

•In obedience to the recent court judgement, the ministry, through the Budget Office of the Federation, is collating the details of appropriations and statutory transfers to the National Assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission, National Judicial Council, the Niger Delta Development Commission, Universal Basic Education and National Human Rights Commission for publication. These agencies are all on first-line charge to the Federation Account and therefore the ministry must work with them to obtain the necessary information.

•It is public knowledge that as a result of the implementation of IPPIS, about 45,000 names of ghost workers have been taken off the payroll and about N118 billion saved. The Federal Ministry of Finance has taken the additional step of referring the issue to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation so that any identified culprits can face the full wrath of the law.

•It is also important to provide some clarification on the allegation that the Budget Office of the Federation and other agencies have the highest proportion of ghost workers in the country. This is an obvious misrepresentation of facts. The Budget Office was one of the pioneer agencies on the IPPIS platform since 2006 and through biometrics and other processes, ghost workers have been eliminated from its payroll for about seven years now. The failure to give a time frame to this allegation was obviously done in bad faith to give a negative impression.

The Federal Ministry of Finance will, in line with its statutory mandate and international best practice, continue to manage the finances of the country transparently and accountably.

•Photo shows Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala.

Source: News Express

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