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Bayelsa uncovers 612 ghost workers, dead persons in payrolls

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Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri

The 33-member Committee on the Review of Grade Levels and Steps of Local Government and Primary School Staff set up by the Bayelsa State Government in April this year has submitted its report with the discovery of anomalies in the payrolls.

The chairman, Timipre Seipulou, said the committee reviewed a total of 14,258 cases in various local government areas.

Presenting the report at the Government House, Yenagoa, he said the number comprised 7,207 primary school teachers, 5,893 council staff and 1,189 health workers.

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Seipulou, who noted that the committee conducted a staff verification using the March 2021 payroll as a template and discovered that out of the 7,207 primary school staff, the headmasters confirmed 612 were ghost workers in their schools.

The report added that 573 staff were not in the payrolls but were said to be physically present in the schools, while names of 10 dead and 13 retired staff were found on the payrolls.

Seipulou, who is also the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Revenues and Accounts, said the committee equally observed irregular progressions across the board, improper updating of files and indiscriminate award of special promotions, among other irregularities.

The committee’s recommendations include the setting up of a special team to review cases of employees that appeared in the payrolls but were not in schools as well as the removal of dead and retired staff from the wage bill.

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It also advised the government to use the April 2021 payrolls, grade levels and steps report as a basis to conduct physical verification of all staff with an oracle team on ground to capture the biometrics of the workers during the verification exercise.

Receiving the report, Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, commended the committee for doing a thorough work that would help in repositioning the councils for better service delivery.

He promised to convey the report to Governor Douye Diri and work closely with all relevant authorities in carrying out what he described as segmented implementation of the committee’s recommendations.

Ewhrudjakpo also thanked the leadership of labour unions in the state for their support and solicited their continued cooperation, noting that the review assignment was aimed at sanitizing the local government system and not witch-hunt any worker.

The 33-member committee had Luka Obiri, Hamilton Ekeke and Laye Julius as chairmen of subcommittees on health, teachers and council staff respectively.

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