Judex Okoro, Calabar
Some civil servants in Cross River State have raised the alarm over alleged plan to deduct about N12m from their salaries to organise a send forth party for the state’s Head of Service (HoS).
Checks by our correspondent revealed that the HoS, Mr Ekpenyong I. Henshaw, would soon retire and senior directors in the state had concluded arrangements to organise what they described as “successful pulling out of service party” for him.
And to implement the plan, the directors were said to have set up an interim committee to work out modalities on how to raise the funds for the party.
During their meeting held penultimate week, the committee recommended that some money be deducted from salaries of civil servants in categories from November ending.
A source at the meeting revealed that the letter inviting them to the meeting held at Lamoni Munchies Restaurant New Secretariat Complex, was signed by one Mrs Agnes Inyang, a director in the CRS civil service.
The letter, which was dated November 5, 2019 with reference number, GO/HOS/1213/VOL.1/45, had in attendance top government officials ranging from permanent secretaries to political appointees even as most of them refused not know the agenda of the meeting.
The source further revealed that the sum of N300 would be deducted from the salaries of civil servants from Grade Level 1-6, N500 from level Grade level 7-13 and N1,000 from Grade level 14-17.
According to the source, “there are about 23, 000 civil servants in the state and out of this number 10,000 fall into the G/L 1 – 6 category, 8,000 are in the 7 – 13 category while 5,000 make up the 14 –17 category.
“Going by these estimates, the first, second and third categories will contribute N3 million, N4 million and N5 million respectively. In all, N12 million maybe illegally deducted from civil servants in the state for a send forth for the Head of Service,” the source stated.
A junior civil servant, who simply identifies himself as Mnonjok, said some directors in some agencies had already notified their staff about the deduction, urging then to comply so that they can get promoted.
Mnonjok said such a deduction is illegal, complaining that there were too many deductions.
He said what was expected of the HoS was to see how their colleagues whose names were dropped from the payroll could be brought back office rather than getting busy organising a send forth party for himself.
He said the affected civil servants cannot speak out because of the anonymity of the service and thus called on the governor to step in.
When our correspondent went to the office of Head of Service, he was said to be out on official duty and some directors contacted there refused to make comments. But a director, who spoke off the record said: “This kind of deductions normally take place, but they are not legal. So, we often look the other way while the deductions are made. If you complain you can be attacked in the process. Besides, you cannot even ask for the expenditure.”