By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Over 6000 ghost workers have been discovered in the payroll of the Plateau State government in the state civil service.
State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yiljap Abraham, who disclosed this yesterday while speaking with journalists, attributed the continuous lack of proper accounting of funds for developing the state to the fraud.
Abraham said that the ghost workers were discovered after a biometric verification exercise was carried out by the state government, adding that after earlier committees set up by the government to determine the strength of the state workforce had put the figure at between 17,000 and 18, 000 workers, the governor became alarmed that despite the fact that there had been no new employment, the figure kept rising.
He added that the biometric exercise discovered that Plateau should have not more than 11,000 workers, meaning that the remaining were not legitimate workers.
“Between 2007 and 2011, we discovered that the figure of the state civil service kept increasing despite the fact that people have been dying and have not been replaced, we have had people resigning, going on secondment, and yet we have not had any corresponding decrease.
"We discovered that before the minimum wage, the wage bill was N1.2 billion monthly and after that it rose to N1.7 billion, then we started asking questions. How come the wage bill, instead of decreasing continued to increase, despite that people have been leaving the service through one mean or the other and they were not replaced: we have not employed for a long time and yet we still have that number of workers.
"We found that in some instances, people were collecting salaries from more than one ministry, dead people still have their names on this payroll, while those who are supposed to have left service kept changing their age to remain in service.
He said now that the ghost workers have been identified they would soon be prosecuted. "We have discovered account numbers where millions of naira was lodged monthly. Those account numbers belonged to somebody; they have names, they will face the court of law,” he adde