The governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson has set up a nine member judicial commission of inquiry to investigate fraudulent falsification of the government payroll and other accounts.
The measure was part of his efforts to sanitise the civil service and entrench corporate governance in the State, according to a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson.
Already, workers under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), have expressed satisfaction with the governor’s decision, saying apart from bringing sanity into the system and block all
leakages of fraud, it would save the state from impoverishment by crooks.
Justice Doris Adokeme is the chairperson of the commission, while Mr. Victor Slaboh is secretary. Other members are Chief Amos Poubinafa; Mr. Olodiama Jebba representing the Ministry of Justice and Mr. Anthony Ikhobo representing the State Treasury.
Raymond Angaye represents the Office of the Head of Service, Mr. Kehinde Akingbade; Miss Erebi Bibobra and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Assayomo Tuesday, are also members of the commission.
The commission, which has 60 days to conclude its assignment, is also to extend its investigation into payroll fraud to the eight LG councils of the state, the statement noted.
Dickson, while inaugurating the commission at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House in Yenagoa, gave an eight-point terms of reference to its members, with a charge on them to investigate in full, the circumstances surrounding the state’s payroll of the public servants from 2003 till date.
While describing the task before the commission as important and sensitive to the survival of the State, he mandated its members to also uncover the person or persons, cartel or gang involved in the suspected fraudulent distortion of the payroll and nominal rolls of public servants from 2003 till date.
The commission is expected, among other things, to “reveal the identities of the perpetrators of the suspected fraudulent falsification of salaries in the ministries, departments and agencies of the government as well as determine, where possible, the exact amount of government money that may have been lost through the criminal activity.”
According to Dickson, the commission has the responsibility to uncover the method employed by the suspected perpetrators in depriving the government of large sums of money. The governor urged the committee members to recommend measures to recover such stolen funds.
He also called on the commission to make any recommendations as it may deem fit to strengthen the government accounting and payroll procedures for the future, adding that, such measures have become imperative to block leakages of the government funds, in view of the prevailing economic challenges.