From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
THE verification panel set up by the Bayelsa State Government to verify staff and wage bill status of the existing eight Local Government councils of the State has uncover massive fraud in the local government councils.
The committee, which submitted its report yesterday to the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah, during the Monthly Transparency Briefing, identified systematic salary payment to dead workers, employment of minors and unqualified workers and truancy in the local government system.
The report which was presented by the Chairmen of the Staff Verification Committee, Chief T. K. O Okorotie (Ekeremor), Senator Nimi Bariagha- Amage (Nembe), Senator Inatimi Rufus-Spiff (Brass) and Chief Patrick Isulu, exposed a poor administration and corruption infested local government system in the state.
According to Okorotie, out of the 1,777 staff of Ekeremor Local Government screened, 352 employees were discovered to be under-age, not qualified and have failed to attend work with a savings of N11 million in the council.
The former senator from Bayelsa East, Nimi Bariagh-Amange, submitted that the verification exercise conducted in Nembe Local Government discovered over 60 under-age with direct employment from secondary and tertiary institutions.
At Brass, the Chairman of the Verification Committee, Senator Inatimi Spiff, submitted that 13 workers were discovered to be dead but were being paid. Rufus-Spiff also said the verification committee uncovered the issues of truancy and high number of senior staff.
Jonah, who received the report on behalf of Governor Seriake Dickson, noted with concern the rot in the local government system.
He said with the revela revelations by the report submitted by the committees, the government had decided not to pay those that don’t go to work.”
Commending the various verification committees, he announced the setting up of a review committee to be headed by Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Mrs Agatha Goma.
Also announced as members of the committee are the Special Adviser on Local Government, Robinson Etolor, representative of the state accountant general, representative of the treasury office and a representative of the National Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE).