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At least 500 ghost workers have been detected by the Remitta Consultants Firm in the Benue State government payroll following the ongoing verification exercise to ascertain the over bloated wage of the state.
Daily Trust reports that the State’s House of Assembly in its bid to intervene on the January salary discrepancies had summoned key officers of the state’s Ministry of Finance, including the Commissioner for Finance, Head of Service, and the Remita consultants among others for an explanation on the matter.
The Deputy Governor who is the Chairman of the State of Emergency on Salary Committee, Engr. Benson Abounu, also appeared before the lawmakers on Thursday and commended the consultant for effectively identifying 500 non existing workers.
Abounu admitted that the consultants fished out 250 personal subhead numbers that were duplicated to 500 persons on the payroll through its system analysis which was immediately corrected by his committee but he was however indifferent about their status, adding that at no time did the State Executive Council approved the engagement of Remita Consultants to handle payment of salaries.
The deputy governor also disclosed that the data that was used by the consultant did not come from his headed emergency committee on salary despite directives by Governor Samuel Ortom that the report be used for the payment of January salaries.
He insisted that there was no need to hire a consultant to handle payment of salaries in the state because the bulk of the job which could be handled by a consultant was painstakingly being done by his committee.
Abounu however maintained that based on the findings from his committee, the total wage bill of the state had been reduced from N7.8billion to N5.5billion.
Earlier, the chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Philip Tachin, who also appeared before the House, commended the consultants, saying, since they took over payment of salaries from SUBEB in 2017, the abnormalities that usually characterised payment of salaries had been eliminated.
Meanwhile, a latest finding as contained in the phase II report of the Salary Verification Committee headed by a retired permanent secretary, Mr. Tersegha Ikyaabo, which also uncovered the sum of NN3.5bn salary fraud on the state’s payroll emphasised that the feat was achieved through the technology provided by Remita and the support of its consultants in collaboration with the state’s Ministry of Finance.
The Ikyaabo’s report had stressed that with the updated data, the payroll process became much easier, eliminated possibilities of fraud and better positioned the state to meet its obligations to its employees.