By Segun Awofadeji
The Bauchi State Government has lamented the loss of N1.062 billion in the state through ghost workers and pensioners in the last four years.
The state government said the regrettable financial loss which occurred between June 2016 and January 2020 was the outcome of the fraudulent activities of civil servants in its employment.
This was, however, the findings of a memorandum of the committee on the issue to cleanse the state and local governments payrolls as well as the issue of ghost workers from June 2016 to January 2020 involving 259 ghost workers.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Umar Sanda Ahmed, who disclosed this while briefing journalists on the outcome of the Bauchi State Executive Council meeting held yesterday at the Government House, explained that in the state payroll, a total of 193 people were involved in perpetrating the fraud with over N270 million lost in the fraud, while in the local government payroll, there were 66 people who have collected over N792 million using fictitious names.
According to him, “The total amount of fraud for both the state and local government payrolls is N1.062 billion. Those employees in the pre-service scheme, including doctors, nurses, radiographers and other medical staff were bonded based on the amount they spent by the time they finished.
“Instead of them to come back and work because they are still in the employment of the state government, they ran away and took appointment elsewhere, yet they were still drawing monthly salaries and other allowances from the coffers of the state government.
“So the decision taken by the Council is that letters should be written to them so that they can come back to serve out their bonds, and if they refused, they should be prosecuted, and whatever amount they must have drawn will be recovered from them.”
On the issue of prosecution, he said the government has been arresting the culprits and handing them over to the police, however, saying the exercise is an ongoing process.
“The state government has been arresting the culprits but the challenge is that they always change their names, but the government has not taken any definite decision on where to take the culprits as it is an ongoing process.
“Some of the civil servants so far found guilty were interrogated by the DSS. At the first instance, those arrested were sent to the police while the leader of the syndicate is with the DSS undergoing interrogation. As we are discovering them, we’ll hand them over to the security agencies. We are liaising with the state Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice that the names of those found guilty will be published in the national dailies. Also, the state governor has vowed that he wants to leave a legacy by make the issue of these ghost workers a thing of the past,” he added.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Aliyu Maigoro, said the government would not spare those fingered among the ghost medical personnel, saying for those doctors that absconded, they are going after them as the government is working with the Attorney General to ensure that they are prosecuted along with those who went on study leave without approval.