Ghost Workers: Niger, Police Intensify Investigations, Recover Stolen Funds
Posted On Aug 16, 2016
By Andullberqy Ebbo
The police in Niger State have recorded a victory in its investigation into the “ghost workers” syndicates in the State Civil Service. The investigation followed a June 7 tip-off, according to a Police Report on the case signed by ACP Habu A. Sani, which alerted the Police to the criminal activities of a group within the Civil Service.
“The tip-off was received to the effect that a syndicate mainly Civil Servants cut across various Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals in Niger State specialize in forging of official document/signatures of persons who have either died while in service or have transferred their service from the Niger State Government,” reported ACP Sani, who’s Assistant Commissioner of Police, Criminal intelligence & Investigation Department in Niger State.
The report further revealed that the the Police obtained warrants of arrest and traced the residences of key suspects in the syndicate, where they discovered documents used in fraudulent activities and impersonations of dead and living persons to defraud the State Government. So far the Police have arrested 24 suspects linked to the syndicate based on the confessions of one Mr. Abubakar Ladan Mustapha who’s a principal member of the group.
The series of arrests led to identification of one Mr. Abubakar Bello, already in police custody, as coordinator of the syndicate. He’s a teacher at the Vocational Training Centre. The confessions showed how they operated. They secured files of civil servants no longer active and had them processed and deemed eligible to earn salaries through the complicity of their members at the State Ministry of Finance, Audit and he Pension Board.
A total of eight million, three hundred and fifty-five million naira have so far been recovered from the syndicate. And the Police also explained that “process of more recovery of the balance from those yet to pay off is ongoing.”
Praising the success of the Police operation, the Chief of Staff to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, Hon. Al-Amin Mikhail Bmitosahi described it as “another evidence of the government’s determination to block leakages and corruption in the State.” Bmitosahi however decried the existence of the syndicates in the civil Service. “It’s rather cruel and unfortunate that while the Governor is restless in his determination to pay workers, taking loans and holding meetings with the Organised Labour, some elements within the same Civil Service are conniving to not only defraud the State but make life miserable for their colleagues.”
The government, the Chief of Staff further assured, will do everything within its constitutional means to ensure perpetrators of these fraudulent activities in the State are fished out and made to face the wrath of the law.