Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, has set up a panel to investigate the over 10,000 ghost workers in the state civil service, saying they will not escape prosecution.
According to him, 10,000 ghost workers were uncovered during the recent physical verification which made Bank Verification Number a compulsory requirement before workers could receive salaries.
The panel comprises a high ranking lawyer from the Ministry of Justice, a senior detective from the police, another detective from the Department of State Services and one each from the Office of the Accountant-General and the Office of the Auditor-General.
The governor said the BVN was one of the various means adopted by his government to track fraud in the civil service and weed out ghost workers.
Abubakar spoke during an interview with journalists in Abuja after the conferment of an award on him by the Forum of former National Assembly members who served between the First and Fourth Republics.
At the event, the governor called on the international community to assist Bauchi State fix public structures such as hospitals, classrooms and others destroyed by the Boko Haram terror group.
He said, “I have done a lot to checkmate activities of ghost workers in my state; that is the burning issue now in Bauchi State. From January till date, I have embarked on an exercise to clean the payroll of Bauchi State. I started with a physical verification and then I went into BVN and BVN has done a lot for us.
“Till date, we have discovered about 22,000 workers whose existences are doubtful. I don’t want to say they are ghost workers and I do not want to say we have discovered 22, 000 ghost workers because it is give and take. They may be genuine workers that have been caught up with one glitch or the other in the system because technology itself has its glitches.
“So, there may be instances like that but I know for a fact that no matter what, those instances will not surpass 5,000. So, even if those cases with glitches go up to 5,000, we have still discovered upwards of 10,000 ghost workers in Bauchi State.
“As I am speaking to you now, the panel is sitting in Bauchi, scrutinising all the papers in respect of those culprits we have been able to identify as ghost workers.
“There are some cases where you will see a male name with BVN and another female name with the same BVN, meaning that the genuine worker is receiving two salaries, one in respect of his name and the other in respect of the female’s name.”
Abubakar said such people had been brought before the committee for interrogation after which their statements would be recorded.