Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers state, Solomon Eke, has stated that his administration is confronted with “mind boggling payroll fraud”, which included dead workers, who still receive monthly salaries from the council.
Eke stated this yesterday in his scorecard at the Obio/Akpor Council Chambers, Rumuodomaya, to mark his administration’s first year in office.
He said that the challenge has meant that the council’s monthly allocation hovering between N180 million to N190 million is gulped by salaries within same range.
He said, “We practically cannot take up any serious activity because of the huge wage bill. This situation prompted the ongoing staff audit and verification in the LGA. This is the puzzle the Special Verification Committee will help unravel.
“We are already having some mind-boggling revelations. Imagine we have a lot of ghost workers on the payroll. Some dead workers are still receiving salaries. Some people are taking double salaries, some likely receiving salaries above their grade levels. We expect the audit exercise to clean up the mess”, he stated.
The council boss said that, notwithstanding the financial difficulties, his administration in the last one year has been able to initiate a health insurance scheme, allowing anyone resident or doing business in the locality to register with N4,000 and get free medical treatment on a wide range of ailments.
Other achievements he listed included school infrastructure development project, conflicts resolution, youth and women empowerment, roads/streets decongestion, internal roads development, while projecting to ensure completion of the stalemated Elowhami Market intimated years back.
On security, Eke said his partial ban on commercial tricycle operations has started yielding useful results, with security operatives and residents attesting to a gradual drop in crime rate in the LGA..