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Council chairman, workers disagree over non-payment of salaries

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Employees of Oshimili South Council Area of Delta State, yesterday, barricaded the entrance of the council, locked out the Chairman, Uche Osadebe, and others over non-payment of salaries.

The aggrieved workers said Osadebe refused to authorise payment of their salaries, even as they alleged that he has been engaging in illegal procurements.

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One of the workers, who asked not to be named, said the Chairman’s refusal to pay their salaries had plunged them into hardship and that until their salaries are paid, they would not go back to work.

He said: “While we are fighting to get our salaries, the chairman is busy spending money on unnecessary things.”

But in his reaction, Osadebe said he refused to authorise the payment of their salaries because the workers usually hide official files they ought to have treated.

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“I decided not to authorise the payment of their salaries, because they hide files of critical projects. I had told Governor

Okowa

of my plans to commission the remodeled office complex in December this year.”

“The file I sent to them to prepare a voucher for payment of the project already executed was hidden, making it impossible to pay the contractor. They should bring out the files and prepare the voucher so they can issue the cheques and I will authorise payment of their salaries,” he stated.

He, however, said he was happy with the development, adding that Governor Okowa would come to know about happenings in the council so that those who have been hiding files could be sanctioned.

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Osadebe also accused the employees of poor attitude to work, saying: “It takes them between two to three months to document most of the projects in the council, even when you ask them to document them. I still supervise them before they can do proper documentation.”

On the allegation of procurement, Osadebe asked: “Is there anything like irregular procurement? Am I a purchasing officer procure materials in the council? So, how can I procure something when I am not the purchasing officer?

He disclosed that the variation on the contract the council was asked to provide has been done, lamenting that for over two to three weeks now, the staff members have not been able to produce the voucher, lamenting that the voucher for a project that was completed at the secretariat since January has not been prepared.

“As politicians, they frustrate you when they find out that you want to leave the office and they look for avenues to collect money from contractors, which I will not allow,” he added.

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