Bauchi State Government on Wednesday revealed that it had removed no fewer than 715 civil servants from the payroll system in the state in a bid to checkmate ghost worker syndrome.
The revelation was made by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mohammed Sabiu Baba, while briefing journalists of the outcome of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting held at the Government House, Bauchi.
According to the government scribe, in order to address the issue of payment of salary to civil servants and tackle the issue of ghost workers on the state government payroll, the Governor Bala Abdulkadir administration set up a committee about four weeks ago to have a sanitized payroll system.
Baba informed that the committee had since discovered lots of evidence that there were ghost workers and so many malpractices in the payment of salary.
He said that the system for payment of salaries and wages in the state had been compromised to the extent that the software deployed in the payment had been manipulated with the connivance of staff and ghost workers.
“Since we came, there has been the hue and cry that there are many ghost workers on the state payroll. The intention is to address that issue squarely and from what we have started, we have seen that there is lots of evidence that there are ghost workers and so many malpractices.
“The early system for payment of salaries and wages in Bauchi State has been compromised. There is a collusion between the beneficiaries and the staff to the extent that the software we are using has been opened to a lot of manipulations. Therefore, we cannot place any reliability on it,” the SSG said.
According to him, “from some of the manipulations that was discovered by the committee recently set up on salary, 715 people had been flagged off and their salaries had been stopped for one reason or the other.
“We have their lists and the reason for stopping every salary has been clearly provided.”
He added that each commissioner and heads of ministries, departments and agencies in the state would be given the lists of workers affected in their MDAs to go and interview them, declaring that the state government cannot continue to pay those who do not deserve it.
“What the government wants to do is to ask the commissioners in charge of the different ministries and whoever is in charge of an MDA to take their own list and go back to those people, sit and interview them.
“It’s fine if it is something that can be sorted out but if it cannot be sorted out, then that automatically is the kind of thing we are saying about ghost workers in the system. Definitely, we cannot continue to pay people that don’t deserve to be paid,” Baba said.
On his part, the state Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Abdulrazak Zaki, informed that names of many retired local government personnel were still appearing on the local government councils’ payrolls.
This, the commissioner said, had to stop, declaring that the development greatly contributed to the menace of ghost workers in the state.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Yakubu Kirfi, informed that the state government would soon reveal the identity of people who engaged in salary fraud in the state to the public.
According to him, the government would only do this after the police concluded their investigations into the matter.