Akwa Ibom State government has set up a panel to investigate the double payment of salaries to civil servants in some government parastatals in the state.
This followed reports sent to the finance ministry by unnamed parastatals. Inaugurating the committee, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr Nse Ekefre frowned at a situation where civil servants connive to defraud the state government.
Ekefre noted that such actions have led to bloated wage bill for the state government. He expressed the state governor’s disapproval of bloated salary bill, which prompted the introduction of the Biometric Data Capture/staff verification exercise.
He said that due process would be followed to get to the root of the matter. “Government does not want any victimisation, it decided on the setting up of the Committee, aimed at following due process in trying to get to the root of the matter and use the opportunity to warn all, who are in the habit of defrauding government to desist, henceforth,” he said.
He expressed belief that the committee will do a thorough job and gave them one month to investigate and submit their report. The permanent secretary also urged the concerned parastatals to ensure that they make all necessary and required documents available to the committee.
Meanwhile, the state committee on biometric data and staff verification said it has screened 24,492 civil servants in an exercise aimed at identifying ghost workers.
Committee Chairman, Mr Offiong Eduongo, said that the exercise was carried out in seven phases, during which period 26,212 staff were presented for screening with 24,492 actually screened.