The salary verification committee set up by the Benue State government to investigate the high wage bill of the state has discovered that 81 persons either dead or retired are on the payroll of government collecting salaries illegally amounting to N116.1millon.
The chairman of the verification committee Mr Tertsegha Ikyaabo who made this known when he led other members of the committee to present an interim report to Governor Samuel Ortom in Makurdi, said, the exercise has revealed that government has lost over N1.4 billion to illegal payment of salaries between June 2015 and October 2016.
Mr. Ikyaabo explained that the committee report covers about 10,300 staff in 60 ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of government using actual verification of salary payment vouchers, staff records and physical sighting of staff as parameters for the exercise.
Others discoveries according to the Committee Chairman include 91 persons collecting salaries above their grade levels and those given appointments outside the mainstream of the state civil service who continue to enjoy salaries long after being relieved of such appointments amounting to N105.9 million within the same period.
He stated that there were also 35 cases where some officers were transferred to places without going through laid down procedures with N18.6 million collected as salary in addition to another category of 30 officers whose contracts expired but continued to draw salaries worth N36.2 million, a situation he stressed had added to the already high state wage bill.
He urged Governor Ortom to take urgent steps to expunge all the identified beneficiaries of the illegal payments from the payroll to plug the leakage of government resources, adding that other sectors such as tertiary institutions owned by the state, Health Management Board and the State Teaching Service Board were next to be verified.
Responding, Governor Ortom said the interim report was a confirmation of the committee’s capacity in assisting the state government to unravel the mystery behind its huge wage bill, saying that the N1.4 One billion lost would greatly have helped to clear salary arrears of workers.