The Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, weekend confirmed that his administration has received the support of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on the decision to probe the alleged fraudulent falsification of government payroll and other accounts in local government councils in the state.
Governor Dickson, in a statement issued by his chief press secetary, Daniel Markson-Iworiso, said the state workers’ union, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), have expressed satisfaction with his decision on the probe.
According to him, “The workers union affirmed that the decision to probe the payroll fraud will bring sanity to the system and block all leakages of fraud, it would save the state from impoverishment by crooks.”
The state government had on Friday set up a judicial commission of inquiry, headed by Justice Doris Adokeme with the mandate to investigate the reports submitted last month by the Workers Verification Committee on local government councils in the state.
According to the Governor Dickson, the measure is part of his efforts to sanitize the civil service and entrench corporate governance in the state.
Other members of the committee include Mr Victor Slaboh, secretary, Chief Amos Poubenafa, Mr Olodiama Jebba, representing the Ministry of Justice and Mr Anthony Ikhobo representing the State Treasury.
Others are: Raymond Angaye, representing the Office of the Head of Service, Mr Kehinde Akingbade, Miss Erebi Bibobra and assistant commissioner of police, Assayomo Tuesday.
The commission has 60 days to conclude its assignment. Dickson while inaugurating the commission at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House, gave an eight-point term of reference to its members, with a charge on them to investigate in full, the circumstances surrounding the state’s payroll of public servants from 2003 till date.
While describing the task before the commission as important and sensitive to the survival of the state, he mandated its members to also uncover the person or persons, cartel or gang involved in the suspected fraudulent distortion of the payroll and nominal roll of public servants in the state from 2003 till date.
The commission is expected, among other things, to “reveal the identities of the perpetrators of the suspected fraudulent falsification of salaries in ministries, departments and agencies of government as well as determine, where possible, the exact amount of government money that may have been lost through the criminal activity.”
According to Dickson, the commission has the responsibility to uncover the method employed by the suspected perpetrators in depriving government of large sums of money.
The governor urged the committee members to recommend measures to recover such stolen funds.
He also called on the commission to make any recommendation as it may deem fit to strengthen government accounting and payroll procedures for the future, adding that such measures have become imperative to block leakages of government funds in view of the prevailing economic challenges.