The Kogi State Auditor General, Alhaji Yusufu Okala, has said that the state lost a colossal amount of money, approximately N213,034,857,280.44, to a category of entities he called “Ghost Workers/Unintended Beneficiaries.”
The Auditor stated this when the Staff Screening & Validation Committee, jointly led by the himself and the Auditor General of the Local Governments Areas, Mallam Usman Ahmed Ododo, submitted their report to the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, at a Stakeholders Forum held in Government House, Lokoja, Monday, July 25th 2016. This committee was set up by the Governor with the mandate to review and authenticate the report earlier submitted by the Staff Screening and Verification Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Jerry Agbaji.
According to Alhaji Okala, “As at the time of inaugurating the Staff Screening and Verification Committee on February 22, 2016, the total staff on the nominal payroll of the State (State MDAs and Local Governments) was 88, 973 with monthly wage bill of N 5,809,578,703.72. However, after the conclusion of this exercise on July 24, 2016, the cleared and validated workforce is 63, 870.”
Gov. Bello lamented the colossal loss recorded by the state through the syndrome, said his administration has put a permanent stop to financial theft in the state. The Governor said the screening exercise is the first layer of civil service reform, which his administration is embarking on, adding that he is determined to re-position the State Civil Service to play a vital role of facilitating economic drive growth in the state.
The State Auditor General, who presented the report before the large turn out at the forum, said, his committee, which had the State Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Idris Ashiru Asiwaju and the State Accountant General Alhaji Jibrin Momoh, made certain recommendations to the Governor. These recommedations include the Computerising the Payroll System of the State, Local Government workforce& Pensioners, Centralising Payroll Processing, Biometric for All State& Local Governments Staff, and Introduction of PreDisbursement Audit for Salary Payment among other recommendations.
Meanwhile, Governor has set up a review Committee to entertain complains that may arise from the screening exercise. The 11-man committee is expected to submit its report within 21 days.