Buhari Vows to Punish Civil Servants for Illegal Recruitment, Cover-up of Ghost Workers
President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to severely punish civil servants involved in illegal recruitment and cover-up of ghost workers in the public service, which according to him, leads to unnecessary high cost of governance which was impacting the economy negatively.
The President made this known at the 3rd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).
The President complained about the duplication of projects by Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) in the annual national budget which had become a strain on the revenue of the federal government, adding that heads of such MDAs will be sanctioned.
Buhari who noted that governance was a collective responsibility, not just the responsibility of the executive arm, expressed delight that both the legislative and judicial arms of government were involved in managing the cost of governance.
He said his administration had reduced the cost of governance by focusing on abandoned and ongoing projects started by previous administrations.
He added that findings of ICPC showed that some MDAs have created dubious means of presenting new projects as ongoing ones, carrying out illegal recruitment, padding their payroll and sustaining ghost workers.
He said, “Those who illegally bring in personnel into the public service and conceal ghost workers must be and will be severely punished.
“We have ensured that MDAs do not put forward new capital projects at the expense of on-going projects. Government has noted through ICPC that some MDAs have devised a fraudulent practice of presenting old projects as on-going projects. Sanctions will be meted out to the heads of such errant MDAs. I have confidence that ICPC will continue to maintain the vigilance required.”
The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN) said, “ICPC investigation of some cases of illegal recruitment forwarded to us by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has so far implicated the Ministry of Labour, and University College Hospital, Ibadan and a number of corrupt staff of other MDAs at a lower level. This abuse of power is consummated with complicity of compromised elements in IPPIS. These cases are currently under investigation.”
Owasanoye noted that illegal recruitments were possible through syndicates that “corruptly employ unsuspecting Nigerians; issue them fake letters of employment, fraudulently enroll them on IPPIS and post them to equally unsuspecting MDAs to commence work”.
The ICPC Chairman also revealed that “the Commission uncovered 257 projects, costing over N20.1 billion, that were duplicated in the 2021 budget, pointing out that duplication of projects by MDAs was contributing negatively to high cost of governance.”
He said, “ICPC review found that 257 projects amounting to N20.138 billion were duplicated in the 2021 budget leading us to submit an advisory to the Minister of Finance which was promptly actioned by the Minister to prevent abuse.”
President Buhari who spoke on the presentation of the 2021 Public Service Integrity Award to two Nigerians- Nelson Orji Okoronkwo, Deputy Director, Legal, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, and Muhammad Tukur Ahmad, Assistant Commander of Narcotics, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who had exhibited exceptional acts of integrity, said that “some public officers have not only demonstrated the core values of ethics, integrity and patriotism but have been identified for their sterling anti-corruption disposition in their workplace.”
Also recognised for public service integrity was a private citizen, Ikenna Steve Nweke, a PhD student from Imo State, studying in Japan, who was conferred with the Citizens Anti-Corruption Volunteer Group Icon.