The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has confirmed that nearly 23,000 ghost workers have been uncovered by a panel probing multiple salary payments in the federal civil service.
Speaking at a budget defense session in the Senate, the Finance Minister said that those people involved in the fraud would soon be handed over to Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
She explained that the panel was able to uncover the ghost workers because of the introduction of the bank verification number (BVN).
“What the BVN exercise has showed has been real revelation. We have identified that there are people who appear on our payroll multiple times and as you know, BVN links all the accounts of one person.
“So we are seeing on some payrolls, 20 people (with) same BVN (20 names one BVN).
“We have now started a process. In fact this morning, we had a meeting on how we are going to now clean them off and we are having a meeting on Monday with the unions to agree the format.
“The process will be that we will suspend that person from the payroll pending the investigation (and) we will try as far as possible to complete the investigation in 30 days so that we don’t catch out innocent people.
“We really need to clean our payroll off (because) as we speak now, we have about 23,000 that we need to investigate.
“Banks have colluded with people to pack our payroll and not only are we going to stop those payments but we are actually going to go and recover our money.
The BVN was in response to the failure of the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) to effectively deal with the issue of ghost workers in the federal civil service.
The Minister disclosed that the ministry has barred government agencies from spending money for service wide votes. Members of the Senate committee had earlier expressed reservations about the management of the service wide votes.
She also hailed the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), saying it exposed revenue generating agencies who declared revenue far less than what they were generating.