The monthly wage bill of Sagbama Local Government in Bayelsa state has dropped from N200 million to N30 million, it was learnt on Friday.
The situation has therefore led to the arrest of the Secretary to the Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) in the area over alleged falsification of nominal roll and over bloated wage bill.
Addressing a press conference in Yenagoa, chairman of the caretaker committee of the council, Mr. Michael Magbisa, stated that over eleven fictitious names were discovered on the wage bill.
While attributing the delay in the payment of workers’ salaries to fraudulent practices, he said this necessitated the council’s decision to embark on staff verification audit from 2007 to 2016.
Magbisa recalled that the last time the LG carried out employment was in 2007.
Adding that he was shocked to discover fictitious names and backdated employment on the payment vouchers and nominal roll from 2007 to 2016.
Speaking on the staff strength of the education authority, the council boss pointed out that, the education board alone has over 200 staff, with a wage bill of N13.1m in 2012, which has risen to N60.1m in 2016.
He also spoke on the discovery of the anomalies in the payment vouchers, the nominal roll and the huge wage bill, adding that on assumption of office, he decided to audit the number of staff to reduce the huge wage bill.
Magbisa said he was shocked when he demanded for the 2007 to 2016 payment vouchers and nominal roll from the secretary of the education authority, who told him that, the 2012 flood had destroyed all the documents.
According to Mgbisa, he was not convinced, which prompted him to write a memo to the SUBEB secretary concerning the missing documents.
Adding that, the documents were released to him where he discovered the monumental fraud and anomalies.
On the payment of teachers’ salary, Magbisa explained that, by next week Friday, 3rd of June, the audit exercise would have been concluded for the teachers’ salaries to be paid.
Already, council workers have been paid their one month salary and the balance of seven months would be paid as soon as the verification exercise is concluded.
He is promising to take drastic action against anyone involved in the fraud discovered, as all the workers are complaining the hardship in the delay in the payment of salaries.