• Friday, March 01, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Panel uncovers padding of payment schedule of teachers in Abia LGAs

Otti inaugurates nine-man visitation panel to Abia State University

…discovers 715 teachers not captured in the payroll

Abia State Government says it has discovered that Education Authorities of some Local Government Areas of the State increase their salary schedules, which they submit to the Accountant General’s (AG) office for payment, thereby defrauding the State.

Frankline Nwaigburu, general manager, Debt Management Office/Ministry of Finance Incorporated, who revealed this in an interview with BusinessDay, Friday, stated that a “Salary Payroll Compliance Panel”, set up my his office, to investigate the Local Government Education Authorities, also discovered about 715 ghost teachers in the primary and Junior Secondary School system of some Local Government Areas.

The LGAs where the ghost teachers were discovered are Obingwa, Isialangwa South ,Isialangwa North, Aba North, Umuneochi and Bende.

Read also: Nigerian teachers lament unfulfilled promises

According to Nwaigburu, the excercise, which was concluded about two weeks ago in the 17 Local Government Education Authorities in the State, revealed that some account heads of some Local Government Education Authorities, colluded with officers in charge of payrolls (OC Payrolls) to shoot up salary schedules and payments.

“We observed that some of these accounts heads, prepare two salary schedules-a different payment schedule for Education Management Authority and a different one, which is padded to the Accountant General’s (AG) office”.

He affirmed that the salary schedule they submit to the AGs office is higher, hence when they collect the higher bill, they deduct the excess sum and pay the real wage bill to the Local Government Education Authority, thereby increasing the State’s monthly wage bill.

“They thought that Governor Otti will continue with the old system, but the Governor said no, that we are going to have a single unit payment system and now their dirty deal is being exposed.

“Remember that immidiately the Governor was sworn in on May 29, 2023, he announced that all the accounts heads, payroll officers and all finance directors, that are in charge of salary preparation should prepare June salary, using the December, 2022 salary payment schedule”.

He said that the Governor did that to ensure that people in the system and are receiving salary, would be uploaded with the present salary structure, because the immidiate the past administration led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), observed that Otti of Labour Party had emerged as the winner and started employing people into the civil service and that is why you hear about fake teachers and their fake employments.

“And if you carry out a good comparative analysis, you will believe with me that they did the same thing in 2019. They employed people for the election m and immidiately after the election, they pushed them out and they wanted to repeat same in 2023, but it failed.

“They didn’t know that Otti of LP will win the election, so, immidiately they observed that Otti has emerged, they decided to implement payment of salaries”.

Read also: High cost of living takes toil on Nigerian teachers

Nwaigburu noted that because of the shady arrangement that the immidiate past administration did with the people, they didn’t pay them in October and November, 2022, when they were employed. These teachers were also not paid salaries in December, 2022 January and February 2023, but immidiately they observed that Otti and LP were taking over leadership of the State, they started to pay the new workers from March, 2023, just to create problem for the new administration.

Consequently, when Governor Otti approved that we should carry out an enquiry into the payroll compliance of the LG Education Authorities, we discovered that the affected teachers were not in the payroll of the Local Government Education Authority, because they were not properly employed.

He stated that the affected teachers were paid cash, while some were paid by individuals, not from the system of Abia State Government, noting that they have checked the system and their names were not on the payroll.