Abia uncovers 1942 council workers with fake WAEC, papers, falsified records

www.odogwublog.com reports that Abia State Government says it has uncovered 1642 council workers with fake West African School Certificate ( WASC) , and another 300 with falsified birth records to elongate their stay in office.

Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Charles Ogbonnaya, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen yesterday in Umuahia said the discovery was made during a recent verification of council staff in the state.

He said that the staff verification exercise had become necessary because the  state could no longer sustain the huge monthly wage bill of N2.2 billion for council workers including primary school teachers in the face of the dwindling allocation of about N1.7 billion in some months.

He expressed shock at the level of fraud in the local government  system in the state saying that some fraudsters in connivance with some blacklegs among council officials have continued to milk the state.

Ogbonnaya who added that the governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, had acknowledged that " we have criminals in council administration in the state" vowed that the perpetrators would not go unpunished.

The Commissioner said some of the fraudsters   had since secured employment in some other places but still earn salary as council workers.

" Some of them are now in Malaysia and US either doing business or pursuing academic career yet they are pay-rolled.

" In Bende LGA for example we have seven persons including a medical doctor who is now working at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia but still collect salary at the council", he said.

He accused some payroll officers in the council of conniving with some of the perpetrators to perfect the fraud with a monthly kick- back of N10,000 each.

Ogbonnaya further expressed surprise that instead of condemning the evil some highly placed government officials were pleading for a soft-landing for the perpetrators, adding that he has also been receiving threats from some unanimous sources to soft- pedal.

He vowed never to succumb to pressure or be intimidated by the threats.

" It is wrong for some people to advise government against  taking action against the offenders on the pretext that election is fast coming. In fact as the patron of  unemployed Abia youths, we may go to court after two years to demand that these fraudsters refund the money they collected from government as salary."
He argued that it made no sense to continue to habour unqualified and over- aged staff as council workers amidst armies of well- trained Abia youths without job.

According to him, Abia has about 17,400 council workers with a bloated monthly wage bill of about N2.2 billion including primary school teachers.

Reacting to a question on the financial autonomy of councils, Ogbonnaya who was  a former LGA boss in the state said "financial autonomy to councils would destroy the system."

He rather advocated what he called "guided democracy for councils" to avoid abuse and financial recklessness  among some council bosses  , arguing that in the past, elected council chairmen in the state owed workers up to 10 months.

The Commissioner said council workers were only owed for three months, assuring that efforts are on to defray the arrears.

Abia uncovers 1942 council workers with fake WAEC, papers, falsified records Abia uncovers 1942 council workers with fake WAEC, papers, falsified records Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Friday, March 31, 2017 Rating: 5

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