By Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja.
No fewer than 1,046 workers in the Kogi State civil service have been discovered to be parading fake certificates, as well as controversial academic qualifications.
This was part of several heartrending discoveries made during the just concluded staff screening and verification which commenced February last year in the state.
The latest discovery was contained in the post screening report of the reconciliatory committee set up by the government to clean up the report of the disbanded screening committee.
In the report which was presented during the State Executive Council meeting yesterday, a total of 5, 203 civil servants were found culpable for various offences.
The Kogi State Auditor General, Alhaji Yakubu Okala, who gave a breakdown of the figures of various categories of offences, explained that this was coming after the governor had earlier granted amnesty to other civil servants held liable for offences ranging from age falsification and disparity, and sundry offences.
According to him, about 1,046 workers were discovered to be parading fake certificates as gleaned from the verification conducted in schools within the state, adding that report from schools outside the state were still being awaited.
Also about 1,846 workers were discovered to have had their appointments backdated from 2015 and 2016 to 2007, 2008 and 2012 respectively.
He also disclosed that a total of 40 persons were reported to have indulged in outright cases of fraud and embezzlement, while 66 workers were discovered to be on double employment.
Okala also revealed that, 980 workers were discovered to be guilty of being, ‘ diaspora employees’, as well as 419 found to be illegally placed in the payroll of government by their parents.
Meanwhile, the hope of those employed between 2015 and 2016 seems to have been dashed, as government has declared their appointments, null and void.
However, those employed into vacancies in the health institutions across the state within this period were spared, in view of the critical need of their services.
Details of the report, he disclosed would be forwarded to the office of the head of service, and the State Attorney General, for necessary actions.
Similarly, the auditor general of Kogi State and Chairman, Technical Committee of Kogi State Pension Reform, Alhaji Yakubu Okala has disclosed that between 2010 to 2015, N4 billion belonging to pensioners was diverted to private pockets by few individuals saddled with the responsibility of handling the pension fund in the state.
He made this known during a stakeholders meeting on the importance of the new contributory pension scheme of the state government.
According to him, many of the perpetrators of the fraudulent act were on the run , assuring that government would soon apprehended them.
He said that the heinous act of embezzlement of pension funds in the state had thrown pensioners into a piteous condition that many of the pensioners were ashamed of being identified as a retired civil servants.
“Pensioners at the local government level are the worst hit by the fraudulent act. Investigation on the council’s pension is ongoing and we must see the end.
“Government has tried its best in releasing money for the payment of pension in the state, but the handlers have failed woefully,” he lamented.
He said that in 2017 a pension reform bill was sent to the state house of assembly which was passed into law , but the scheme did not commence after 10 years as a result of lack of political will by the previous administrations.
While condemning the old pension scheme, Okala called on the civil servants both at state and local government council to key into the new contributory pension scheme of the government in order to better their lives after retirement.
The Auditor General commended the state governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello for his courage to actualise the new contributory pension scheme for civil servants in the state.
Also speaking the Chairperson of Kogi state Pension Bureau, Hajia Sa’adatu Atima , disclosed that for the success of the new contributory pension scheme, the state government would contribute 10 per cent while the workers would contribute eight per cent.
Atima described the scheme as safe and laudable , urging workers in the state to key into the scheme.