Benue State government, led by Governor Hyacinth Alia, has uncovered 2,500 ghost workers on the state’s payroll.
In a statement issued on Thursday by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Tersoo Kula, the Governor expressed regrets over the delay in payment of salaries of teachers in primary and secondary schools, as well as local government staff.
The Governor explained that the decision for the delay was taken after the government discovered “mindless padding of the wage bill, and other fraudulent manipulations on their payroll”.
Governor Alia said the decision became necessary after the discovery, to enable the government sanitize and cleanse the payroll, which according to him was aimed at ascertaining the true 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.”
He identified ghost workers, ghost schools, double dipping, unlawful employment, salary padding, payment to dead or retired individuals, unlawful replacement, inflation of the wage bill, as some of the payroll infractions discovered from the audit.
He assured that workers who were successfully screened will receive their salaries before the end of this week, noting that the government was not only fishing out ghost workers and removing the padding associated with payroll fraud, but was putting in measures to ensure the systems were protected going forward.