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The Bauchi State government has revealed that it lost over N1.062 billion to ghost workers and pensioners between June 2016 and January 2020.

The revelation was made by the state Commissioner for Finance, Umar Sanda Ahmed, while briefing journalists shortly after the State Executive Council meeting at the Government House, Bauchi.

According to the commissioner, the amount was part of the findings of the committee set up by the government to cleanse the state and local government payrolls as well as sort out the challenge of ghost workers in the state.

Ahmed informed that a total of 194 names on the payroll of the state government perpetrated a fraud to the tune of over N270 million, while 66 people on the local government payroll defrauded the councils to the tune of N792million using fictitious names.

“The total amount of fraud for both the state and local government payrolls is N1.062 billion,” the commissioner revealed.

According to him, some medical personnel refused to return to the service of the state government but were still drawing a salary from the government while holding appointments somewhere else.

Ahmed informed that the Council decided to write such personnel to come back to serve their bonds, failure of which they would be prosecuted by the state government.

“Those employed in the pre-service scheme including doctors, nurses, radiographers and other medical staff that were on bond based on the amount they spent by the time they finished.

“Instead of them to come back and work because they are still in the employment of the state government, they ran away and took appointment elsewhere yet they were drawing monthly salaries and other allowances from the coffers of government.

“So the decision taken by the Council is that letters should be written to them so that they can come back to serve out their bonds and if they refused, they should be prosecuted while whatever amount they must have drawn will be recovered from them,” Ahmed said.

He said the state government has been arresting the culprits involved in fraud and handing them over to the police, adding that this is an ongoing process.

The commissioner, however, informed that the challenge being faced by the government in terms of arresting and prosecuting some of the culprits is that they always change their names.

According to the commissioner, “some of the civil servants so far found guilty were interrogated by the DSS. At the first instance, those arrested were sent to the police while the leader of the syndicate is with the DSS undergoing interrogation.

“As we are discovering them, we’ll hand them over to the security agencies. We are liaising with the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice that the names of those found guilty will be published in the national dailies.

“His Excellency (Governor Bala Mohammed) has vowed that he wants to leave a legacy to make the issue of these ghost workers a thing of the past.”

On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Aliyu Maigoro, assured that the state government will not spare those fingered among the ghost medical personnel.

He informed that a total of 1,279 ghost workers, including 100 doctors were detected in his ministry so far.

According to him, the government is going after doctors who absconded, adding that the ministry is working with the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice with a view to ensuring that they are prosecuted along with those that went on study leave without approval.

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