The Benue State Government of Thursday announced that it uncovered over 2,500 ghost workers from the payroll of local government areas in the state.
This was made known by the Kula Tersoo, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Hyacinth Alia, in a statement he addressed to journalists in Makurdi.
Alia, while defending the delay in the payment of salaries, pointed out the need to sanitize and clean “all the manipulations created by the past administration”.
The governor claimed that the last administration padded the wage bills and manipulated the payroll of the state.
The statement read in parts, “The governor said the decision for the delay in the payment of salaries of the above-mentioned workers was taken after the government discovered mindless padding of the wage bill and other fraudulent manipulations on their payroll.
“He said the decision became necessary after the discovery, to enable the government sanitize and cleanse the payroll; to ascertain the actual wage bill of the state, and to know the genuine workers that are worth their wages.
“He revealed that the first phase of an extensive staff verification and payroll audit for all teachers and local government staff has just been concluded, and it has already uncovered over 2500 ghost workers that have already been removed from the payroll.”
Alia identified ghost workers, ghost schools, double dipping, unlawful employment, salary padding, payment to dead or retired individuals, unlawful replacement, and inflation of the wage bill, as some of the payroll infractions discovered from the audit.
Furthermore, “He assures that workers who were successfully screened will receive their salaries before the end of this week, noting that government is not only fishing out ghosts workers and removing the padding associated with payroll fraud but also putting in measures to ensure the systems are protected going forward.”
Alia had suspended the 23 local government chairmen to pave the way for a thorough investigation into alleged maladministration in the council areas by the state assembly.