Fraud: Bayelsa Education Board Recommends 272 for Retirement

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Seriake Dickson

By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Following a staff audit of schools in Bayelsa State, the State Post-Primary School Board, has recommended the compulsory retirement of at least 272 members of staff due to various infractions discovered during the screening exercise.

Executive Chairman of the board, Blessing Ikuru, who addressed journalists in Yenagoa, on the extent of the clean-up ordered by Governor Seriake Dickson, noted that a total number of 413 cases of falsification of records involving under-declaration of age and questionable letters of first appointments were reviewed.

The meeting was attended by zonal directors, principals and leadership of the major trade unions that operate in secondary schools system.

She added that after the verification, 141 were cleared and 158 staff recommended for immediate retirement, while a further 114 employees that declined to appear for screening had also been suggested for retirement, pending the governor’s approval.

Ikuru disclosed that as a result of the verification, the board will now be able to save a total of N55.7m monthly, which amounts to N669.3m annually.

The board also announced that it had reduced the staff wage bill from N609 million to N594 million, representing a savings of N15million as a result of the reforms.

Dickson reconstituted the body in April with instructions to ensure that its wage bill was audited by checking all financial books and records, including the indiscriminate award of salary grade levels and steps in the payment vouchers and nominal rolls of the board.

She added: “The SGLSRC audited the vouchers and nominal rolls of 189 schools, zonal boards and board headquarters with staff strength of 5,980. The payroll gross in August was N594.1million and the gross audit for the same month was N557.7million.

“Out of this number, 141 were cleared and 158 staff recommended for immediate retirement, grossing a wage bill of N9.5million.

“Meanwhile, 114 staff were absent from the exercise grossing a wage bill of N9.8million. The board, having waited for more than a month without hearing from those staff, the absentees, is now recommended for possible retirement from services.

“Therefore, if these recommendations are implemented, the board stands to save a total of N19.3m. If the recommendations of the two committees are pooled together financially, the board will now gross in a total savings of N55.7m per month and N669.3m per annum.”

Ikuru lauded Governor Dickson for carrying out the necessary reforms to sanitise and correct anomalies in the public service, despite the perceived consequences.

She explained that the essence of the exercise was not to witch-hunt or sack anybody and also appealed to the governor to approve the implementation of staff promotion for July 2015 and January 2016.