Scandal Unveiled: Salaries paid to 59 dead, 40 retired, staff living abroad in Anambra

In a startling disclosure, the Anambra State Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) has uncovered a massive payroll fraud involving no fewer than 59 deceased persons, 40 retired staff, and several individuals who have relocated abroad, all still receiving salaries.

Addressing reporters, Vincent Ezeaka, Chairman of the LGSC, detailed the findings of an ongoing verification exercise aimed at sanitizing the local government system.

The audit revealed that 427 individuals were on the local government payroll without being actual staff members. Among these were 44 people working with forged credentials, including fake OND, HND, BSc, NECO, and First School Leaving Certificates.

Ezeaka stated that the commission, under the mandate of Governor Chukwuma Soludo, hired a retired permanent secretary to lead the verification process.

“The ongoing staff and certificate verification committees are not for any witch-hunt but purely to sanitize the system,” Ezeaka emphasized.

The commission’s chairman also noted that certain Deputy Directors and local government Treasurers have been dismissed for using fake certificates. “Before the commencement of the verification exercise, we wrote to all the 21 local government areas, asking workers to voluntarily resign if they have issues with their certificates. We assured them that they would be granted amnesty, but that if we had to spend time and money to fish them out, we would dismiss them,” he explained.

Despite a plea from the workers’ union, NULGE, for leniency, the commission discovered 320 workers with zero attendance records over three months. These individuals were subsequently removed from the payroll.

The investigation extended to verifying the authenticity of certificates, with a particular focus on Imo State University credentials. Out of 20 individuals claiming to have certificates from the university, six were found to be using forged documents.

Ezeaka assured that those caught in fraudulent activities would face the full wrath of the law according to civil service rules.

“We are going to finish our investigation and those we caught in this unholy act will face the full wrath of the law,” he declared.

The verification exercise aims not to reduce the wage bill but to ensure that only genuine workers receive salaries.

Ezeaka stressed that the intention was to verify the authenticity of workers and ensure they perform their duties.

The commission has provided a grace period for those using forged certificates to voluntarily report themselves or face dismissal once the amnesty expires.

Ezeaka reaffirmed that the exercise is to align with the governor’s mandate to clear the local government system of ghost workers and maintain the integrity of the service.

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