The Enugu State government has made another breakthrough in its on-going efforts to rid the state public service of ghost workers, recovering in the latest exercise, N21 million from ghost teachers in its Post-Primary School Board, PPSMB, within three months.
However, on a positive note, the state government has decided to offer automatic employment to 50 physically-challenged indigenes of the state in order to give them a new lease of life.
The government, during the state executive council meeting held last weekend and presided over by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, took a hard look at the latest development in this corruption war and mooted a further inquisition that would identify possible members of the syndicate behind the scam.
The Commissioner for Information, Ogbuagu Anikwe, who disclosed the development while briefing journalists on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting further informed that it was the chairman of the PPSMB, Nestor Ezeme, who offered information on the ghost teachers while briefing the council.
Mr. Anikwe said the council regretted the fraud which took place at the PPSMB just within three months during which the board embarked on a special check by paying salaries directly to each of its staff who were made to personally collect cheques in respect of their monthly wages.
According to the commissioner, “the chairman of PPSMB has been pleading with EXCO to allow him pay staff salaries by hand and the EXCO approved that he does so, and for the first month after the salary payment, N7 million was left without anybody coming to claim the amount and for three months, N21 million was recovered in the process which means that ghost workers exist at PPSMB”.
He said that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was not pleased with the development, regretting that “while the state government was striving to fulfil its side of the obligation through regular and prompt payment of workers’ salaries, some staff are busy siphoning government money through ghost-workers syndrome.”
The commissioner stated that the state government is considering some severe sanctions against anybody found to been involved in this fraud.
In an earlier exercise, the government had discovered no fewer than 2,000 ghost workers in the local government system, including the primary schools.
On the coming succour to some physically-challenged persons, he stated that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration in its desire to give equal opportunities to all the people of the state, has responded to a petition presented to EXCO by some visually-impaired individuals by deciding to offer automatic employment to 50 physically-challenged indigenes of the state.
He explained that Enugu State as a signatory to the United Nations Charter has decided in line with that charter which provides for equal opportunity to everybody, irrespective of their physical status, to employ the 50 persons at the first instance, who will be engaged according to their discipline.