Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 22 December 2012 | 4,524 times
In its bid to eradicate corruption, Abia State Government has fished out 1,727 ghost workers in the state’s local government unified system.
The non-existent workers who have been drawing monthly salaries were discovered by the Biometric Implementation Committee set up to determine the actual number of workers in the third tier level of administration.
The committee carried out physical verification of workers in the 17 local government areas for several months and submitted its report to Governor Theodore Orji Thursday.
The report of the committee showed that Aba South harbours the highest number of ghost workers totalling 245, followed by Isiala Ngwa South with 153, while Osisioma LGA came third with 138 ghost workers.
Others are Ikwuano - 117; Umuahia North - 123; Umuahia South - 101; Isiala Ngwa North - 92; Umunneochi - 65; and Ugwuanagbo, which had the least number of 28 ghost workers.
Expressing shock at the huge number of ghost workers in the local government system in the state, Governor Orji immediately ordered for the removal of the names of the ghost workers from the payroll of the local governments and decried the unending cycle of ghost workers in the system.
He laid the blame of the ghost worker syndrome in the councils on the door steps of Heads of Service and Accountants who collude to cover up the corrupt practices.
Orji noted that the verification exercise, which was vehemently opposed by council workers, has eventually revealed the extent of corruption in the local government system, adding that it amounted to sabotage by those that create the ghost workers.
The Abia Chief Executive regretted that even those given the responsibility of auditing the staff of the councils using the biometric data capturing machine betrayed the trust reposed in them as they manufactured and included their own ghosts in the payroll of the councils.
He, therefore, lauded members of the Biometric Implementation Committee for painstakingly executing their assignment without compromising their integrity hence he directed the committee to move into the Pensions Board and exorcise the ghosts in the system.
Presenting the report, the chairman of the committee, Mr. Cosmos Ndukwe, who is also the Chief of Staff to the governor, said that the committee recommended the removal of the unverified workers from the pay roll of councils.
The committee also recommended the biometric recapturing of the council workers based on the verified persons as well as payment of outstanding salary shortfalls in the 2012 fiscal year.
•Photo: Abia Governor T. A. Orji.
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