Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji
Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, yesterday expressed shock at the number of ghost workers in the local government system following the discovery that 1,727 non-existing workers had been drawing salaries from the 17 councils.
The ghosts workers were discovered by the Biometric Implementation Committee, which submitted its reports to the governor yesterday after several months of physical verification of workers in the council areas.
The report of the committee showed that Aba South topped the list with 245 ghost workers, followed by Isiala Ngwa South with 153, while Osisioma LGA came third with 138 ghost workers.
Others were Ikwuano, 117; Umuahia North, 123; Umuahia South, 101 ; Isialangwa North, 92; Umunneochi, 65; while Ugwuanagbo had the least with 28 ghost workers.
With this discovery, Orji immediately ordered 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.
According to him, 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 laid the blame on the ghost worker syndrome in the councils on the heads of service and accountants who collude to cover up the corrupt practices.
He regretted that even those given the responsibility of auditing the staffs 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 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.
Earlier, while presenting the report, the chairman of the committee, Mr. Cosmos Ndukwe, who is also the Chief of Staff to the governor, said 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.