The 33-member committee on the review of grade levels and steps of local government and primary school staff set up by the Bayelsa state government in April this year has uncovered 617 ghost workers.
The committee headed by the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Revenue and Accounts, Mr. Timipre Seipulou, while submitting its report disclosed that it reviewed a total of 14,258 cases in the various local government councils.
This number, according to him, comprises 7,207 primary school teachers, 5,893 council staff and 1,189 health workers.
Mr. Seipulou noted that the committee conducted a staff verification exercise using the March 2021 payroll as a template and discovered some anomalies.
According to him, out of the 7,207 primary school staff, 612 were confirmed by headmasters as ghost workers in their schools.
The report added that 573 staff were not in the payrolls but were said to be physically present in the schools, while names of 10 dead and 13 retired staff were found in the payrolls.
Mr Seipulou noted that the committee equally observed irregular progressions across board, improper updating of files and indiscriminate award of special promotions, among other irregularities.
The committee’s recommendations include the setting up of a special team to review cases of staff who appear in the payrolls but are not in schools as well as removal of dead and retired staff from the wage bill.
It also advised government to use the April 2021 payrolls, grade levels and steps report as a basis to conduct physical verification of all staff with an Oracle Team on ground to capture the biometrics of the workers during the verification exercise.
“Government should review the issue of health workers conversion from the consolidated public service salary structure (CONPSS) to consolidated health salary structure (CONHESS)” and correct cases of staff that go to work but whose names are not in the payrolls,” the report stated.
The Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, commended the committee for doing a thorough work that would help in repositioning the local government councils for better service delivery.
He promised to convey the report to Governor Douye Diri and work closely with all relevant authorities in carrying out what he described as segmented implementation of the Committee’s recommendations.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo also thanked the leadership of labour unions in the state for their support and solicited their continued cooperation, noting that the review assignment was aimed at sanitizing the local government system and not to witch-hunt any worker.