The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered 37,395 ghost workers on the Federal Civil Service payroll, its Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, said yesterday.
Magu, who spoke at an anti-corruption sensitisation programme, organised by the commission for workers in Works and Housing sectors, added that the government lost about N1 billion to the ghost workers.
He said besides the widespread procurement fraud in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the issue of ghost workers was a source of concern to the commission.
“EFCC has uncovered 37,395 ghost workers in the Federal Civil Service and investigation is still on.
“Our investigation has shown that the Federal Government lost close to N1 billion to these ghost workers.
“The figure will definitely increase as we unravel more ghost workers buried deep in Federal Civil Service payrolls,’’ the commission’s chairman said.
He explained that the commission had established a Procurement Fraud Unit to handle the increasing petitions relating to violations of the Public Procurement Laws.
Magu advised civil servants to avoid any act in breach of public procurement, warning that violators risked imprisonment and dismissal from service.
“In regard to procurement fraud, there has been a sharp rise in the number of petitions relating to violations of the Public Procurement Act (2007).
“That is what informed my setting up a Procurement Fraud Unit, which has commenced investigation of procurement fraud cases, with some already in courts.
“Let me warn that civil servants found guilty under the Public Procurement Act risk terms of imprisonment, ranging from five to 10 years, and in addition, may face dismissal from service.
“The commission is determined more than ever before to rid MDAs of fraudulent activities.’’
The EFCC chairman announced that the commission planned to place suggestion boxes at designated places for people to drop petitions and reports of corrupt practices to assist the commission in the fight against corruption.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary (Works and Housing), Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, said as the drivers of government policies, MDAs, should be in the forefront of compliance with public service laws and regulations.
He said: “It is rather sad that over time, the laws, regulations and standard practice governing the operations of the public service are being neglected and often abused, in many cases with impunity.
“The MDAs are expected to be in the forefront of compliance with extant laws and regulations, because they constitute the engine room of government.
“They are responsible for implementation of government’s policies and programmes. Therefore, the success or failure of such policies and programmes are on the shoulders of public officers.’’
Source: The Nation