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Shocker as Anambra LGs uncover 59 deceased individuals still on payroll

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Governor Soludo of Anambra State

BY SUNNY A. DAVID, AWKA

In a shocking discovery, the Anambra State Local Government Service Commission has found that 59 deceased individuals are still on the payroll of the 21 local government areas in the State, with some of the names linked to workers from Nwafor Orizu College of Education and Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik).

This revelation has sparked a massive fraud investigation, as the State seeks to address the issue of “ghost workers” and clean up its public payroll.

The Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Vin Ezeaka, a lawyer, disclosed this to newsmen in an interview in Awka.

Mr. Ezeaka said the discovery was made during a staff personnel audit launched to sanitize the local government system in the State.

The Chairman said a startling revelation of over 427 workers were discovered to have been on the local government payroll without being staff.

He said out of the 427 ghost workers uncovered, 59 were staff of the Commission who had died long time ago, 40 others had retired and are still on the payroll of the commission, while about 11 others are staff living abroad whose names were still on the payroll of government.

Mr. Ezeaka said others were some staff members of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe

He said: “We discovered 59 deceased staff who are still receiving salaries, 40 retirees also receiving salaries and above all, we discovered 222 workers on the payroll who nobody could identify as workers in any of the 21 LGAs and we have many of them living abroad and still receiving salaries, so we wrote to the Joint Account, JAC to remove them from payroll.

“Some of them have come to voluntarily retire but we refused because you can’t cheat government and want to retire.

“We are going to finish our investigation and those we caught in this unholy act will face the full wrath of the law in accordance with civil service rules.

“Apart from this discovery, at the end of May 2024, something dramatic happened, we descended on the Certificate racketeering cartel within the local government system.

“We set up a committee which came up with report of people with suspicious certificates working in various local government areas of Anambra State and we then set up a screening committee that indicted so many of them.

“Those indicted were identified and we started investigating the certificates they presented to the committee and went as far as going to the universities whose certificates they brandished and out of the 20 persons who tendered Imo State University certificates, we screened 14 so far where we discovered that six out of the 14 were fake certificates.

“So we have dealt with that aspect also. It is our duty to sanitize the system in line with the mandate given to us by Governor Chukwuma Soludo so that the genuine workers who sacrifice their time and energy could get value for their service and not looters who do not contribute anything to the development of Anambra State.

The Local Government Service Commission Chairman further disclosed that the ongoing local government and certificate verification committees were not for any witch-hunt but purely to sanitize the system adding that even senior local government staff including Deputy Directors and Treasurers were also sacked for fake certificates.

The Chairman said those working with forged certificates in the LGA system in the State had been given a grace period to come and voluntarily report themselves or be sacked when the amnesty would elapse.

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