The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it has uncovered 1,000 ‘ghost’ workers on the payroll of the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board.
The Head of the Ilorin zonal office of the commission, Isyaku Sharu, who disclosed this at a media briefing in Ilorin on Thursday, said a Permanent Secretary and a director in the services of the Kwara State Government had been arrested and were being detained over the employment scam.
Sharu explained that the discovery of the ‘ghost’ workers prompted the arrest of the two senior government officials, adding that the workers were allegedly smuggled onto the SUBEB payroll.
“The EFCC in the zone has uncovered about 1,000 ‘ghost’ workers smuggled onto the payroll of the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board,” he said.
Sharu added that the anti-graft agency made additional recovery of N138m from suspected treasury looters in the state.
He said the EFCC had earlier handed over N374m recovered loot to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on two occasions.
Other achievements of the zone even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Sharu, include the discovery of N159m allegedly diverted by 16 embattled local government chairmen, which were traced to their personal accounts, adding that some of them had started making refunds.
Sharu stated, “The EFCC in the zone has also uncovered the diversion of about N750m from the Light Up Kwara Project in which about N72m was used to purchase a property in the Guzape area of Abuja.
“It also secured the interim forfeiture of a residential building located at No. 17 and 27A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, with a conservative value of N2bn belonging to a top politician, and another residential building located at No. 10 and 11 AbdulKadir Street, GRA, Ilorin, belonging to the same politician, with a conservative value of N1.5bn.”
Meanwhile, the Makurdi zonal office of the commission has arraigned the Chairman of the Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State, George Ali, and three top officials of the council before the State High Court over an alleged fraud of N792,025,996.90.
Arraigned alongside the chairman are the council’s Director-General, Service and Administration, Audu Mohammed; Treasurer, John Ali; and Cashier, Morgan Ejoga.
Ali served as the caretaker chairman of the local government from 2016 and was recently elected as the new chairman and is expected to be sworn in anytime from now.
According to the anti-graft agency, Ali and the other top officials were arraigned on five counts bordering on conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and abuse of office.
The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice M. A. Ikpambese admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N2m each and adjourned the case till June 23, 2020, for the commencement of trial.