DELTA State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has said the sum of N1. 9 billion would be recovered from public servants who fraudulently falsified their records.
Receiving the report from the Committee on ‘Verification of Date of Birth and Employment of Public Officers in Delta State’ which had Chief Nkem Okwuofu as Chairman, in Asaba, Governor Okowa decried falsification of documents and also, condemned attitude of those who aid and abet such actions.
“From the report before us, out of 1,113 persons who were invited by the committee, only 376 officers were cleared, 291 are supposed to have retired which means they are receiving salaries they ought not to receive,” the governor stated, asserting, “these set of persons and those who failed to appear before the Committee should be expunged immediately from the payroll.”
Governor Okowa who bemoaned the connivance of staff of Directorate of Establishment and Pensions in the falsification of records, directed the office of the Head of Service to carry out an investigation and ensure that those culpable were disciplined.
He said, “a lot of questions need answers from the Directorate of Establishment because, these anomalies should not arise if they did their work creditably; those involved in these anomalies should be brought to book; this is a wakeup call in the public service that a lot need to be done to sanitize the system because we also have had situations within the public service, especially in the local government system where people who are not entitled to promotion were promoted and those who were due, were denied.”
On the issue of some civil servants who can no longer carry out their functions due to ill health, Governor Okowa directed the office of the Head of Service to liaise with the Ministry of Health to set up a medical board to handle such cases, emphasising, “the verification exercise is not a witch hunt but to ensure that salaries are justifiably earned and only those who worked for it are paid.”
While presenting the report, Chief Okwuofu disclosed that out of 1, 113 number of persons invIted for the verification exercise, 951 persons were screened, 376 persons cleared and 162 did not appear.
“The Committee discovered that some staff on the payroll who ought to have retired but, for the falsification of records and others whose dates of birth were adjusted ,were reversed to their verified dates and this has resulted in financial gains of N1, 976, 845, 123, 21” Chief Okwuofu who was accompanied by members of the Committee said.
Deputy Governor Kingsley Otuaro and members of the state executive council witnessed the event.