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Reforms: Bayelsa discovers 27,000 ghost workers

Simon Utebor, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State Government on Thursday said 27,000 ghost and illegal workers had so far been discovered in the payrolls of the state and the local government areas.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the ongoing public sector reforms in the state led to the bizarre discovery.

Iworiso-Markson, who made the revelation at the ongoing town hall meeting in Sagbama area of the state, explained that the development had brought the state’s workforce from 56,000 to 27,000 workers.

Many stakeholders from Sagbama, the local government area of Governor Seriake Dickson, attended the meeting and unanimously through voice votes endorsed the ongoing reforms in the state.

The commissioner stated, “Look at what has happened through the reforms. From 56,000 workers, with the reforms, we are now 27,000 workers in the entire state. It means that about 27,000 workers are fake people.”

He also lamented that some persons purchased their employment by paying between N250, 000 and N500,000.

Iworiso-Markson further decried a situation where a syndicate perfected fraudulent means of collecting salaries of 35 persons by raising employment letters of real persons without their knowledge.

Giving further insight, the commissioner said, “Until these reforms, you have people working in our civil service and the local government areas. One man would have almost 35 people and he is drawing their salaries. Those people are real.

“They have letters of employment but they don’t know because the man included the names of his brothers, sisters, nephews and others. There were letters but they didn’t know they were employed in the local government and this one man is drawing their salaries.

“When we started the reforms, when this particular man noticed they were coming to verify and they would be asking questions, he called all those people whose names were on the payroll and told them that their local government had just given them employment.

“He told them to come and do verifications. Those people were surprised when they looked at their letter and discovered that their letters were backdated to five years ago. It means that the man has been collecting their salaries for the past five years. That was how bad it was and the reforms came to stop it.”

Explaining the gains of the reforms, the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Sagbama, Michael Magbisa, noted that the council had so far saved N13m monthly from council’s workers’ salaries.

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