Workers in Bayelsa State have been gripped by palpable fear of mass sack as the government compiles names of payroll fraudsters.
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson
It has been revealed that serious panic has gripped workers in the Bayelsa State civil service following a directive by the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, that names of suspected payroll fraudsters should be compiled and removed from the system.
According to a report by The Nation, the Committee of Civil Service Reforms (CCRS) set up by the governor to sanitise the public sector and clean up the payroll, was said to have received the backing of Dickson not to spare anybody indicted in the racket.
Dickson inherited a wage bill of about N6bn when he took over the mantle of leadership in 2012 but battled to reduce it to about N3.5bn.
A member of the committee, who spoke in confidence, said the war against the fraudulent civil service system was ongoing with ernest adding that names of the suspects were being compiled by the committee.
Though the source refused to disclose the number of persons indicted so far, it was gathered that many civil servants had been fingered in the rackets and could be sacked and handed over to security agencies for prosecution.
Some of the persons involved in the fraud were said to be collecting salaries simultaneously from different sources such as the local government areas, the Federal University, Otuoke and other agencies.
It was gathered that Dickson on Monday directed his Deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd), to ensure that those defrauding the state through multiple employments and other fraudulent activities were fished out.
The source, who was privy to the directive, said Dickson insisted that the payroll fraud must be tackled under his administration to enable his successor inherit a sanitized system.
He said the governor considered all the reports submitted on payroll fraud and formulate a state policy that would guide the government.
He said: “The governor insisted that his deputy and his team should compile names of those involved and the amount of money the state will save from the eradication of the fraud.
“The governor lamented that the fraud was rampant in the primary and secondary schools apart from the mainstream civil service and the parastatals”.
Quoting the governor, he said: “I want us to reduce this voluminous report to a comprehensive government policy. There is need for specifics in the reports such as those who did not report for the verification exercise.
“Who are the names being taken out; the salary component in the various places where these frauds are committed? How much will be saved from those taken out; I mean the total amount of money.
“In the secondary and primary schools, we have two teachers and 30 non-academic staff, in some schools, we have two teachers to 15 non-academic staff. That cannot continue”.
When contacted the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, confirmed that the governor held the meeting with the panel on civil service reforms on Monday.
Though the commissioner failed to give details, he said that the governor was very serious about the issue of the reforms.
“The governor will act in the interest of the citizens of the state, as it is aimed at sanitizing the system and repositioning it for efficiency and greater productivity.
“I know that the governor held a meeting with the various panels, the one on the civil service, the tertiary institutions, the secondary and primary schools and the local government areas.
“All I can say for now is that this governor has the political will to take on this evil which has held down this state for long. Very soon the reforms will be made public through a special broadcast to the State by Gov. Dickson”, he said