From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There is currently uneasy calm in Bayelsa State as the state government has began the compilation of names of Civil servants indicted in payroll fraud in the state.
Sources in Bayelsa State Government House said Governor Henry Seriake Dickson met with his deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (rtd) and members of the Civil service reforms, on Tuesday, and directed the deputy governor to ensure the compilation of the names so far identified as having allegedly defrauded the state government.
The Jonah report was also expected to identified the amount the state would save henceforth by stopping the fraud.
Another assignment given to the deputy governor, according to sources, was to reduce the voluminous report on the Civil Service reforms into a comprehensive policy of government.
A source in the Civil Service reforms committee, who declined to mention the number of those indicted, said top civil servants were involved in the pay roll fraud going on in the state.
The source confirmed that the state had commenced the compilation of the names adding that those indicted were found to be collecting salaries in the state civil service, federal agencies including the Federal University of Otuoke.
“I want us to reduce this voluminous report to a comprehensive government policy.. There is need for specifics in the reports such as those who did not report for the verification exercise. Who are the names being taken out; the salary component in the various places where these frauds are committed? How much will be saved from those taken out; I mean the total amount of money. In the secondary and primary schools, we have two teachers and 30 non academic staff, in some schools; we have two teachers to 15 non academic staff. That cannot continue.” Dickson was quoted to have said.
When contacted, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso- Markson, confirmed that Governor Dickson met with his deputy and the Civil Service committee but declined to give details of the meeting.
According to him, the governor was very serious about the issue of the reforms and would act in the interest of the citizens of the state, as it is aimed at sanitising the system and repositioning it for efficiency and greater productivity.
He said: “I know that the governor held a meeting with the various panels, the one on the civil service, the tertiary institutions, the secondary and primary schools and the local government areas. All I can say for now is that this governor has the political will to take on this evil which has held down this state for long. Very soon the reforms will be made public through a special broadcast to the State by Governor Dickson.’’