By Emma Una
CALABAR— BIOMETRIC data image capturing recently conducted by Cross River State Government has uncovered 1,735 fake pensioners and 800 ghost workers and thereby saved the state N1.3 billion monthly.
Professor Ivara Esu, the State Deputy Governor, who made the revelation in Calabar, yesterday, at the anti-corruption summit organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, said that 515 accounts operated by agencies and ministries containing the N 3.1 billion were also moved into the Ministerial Single Account operated by the state government.
“We have been complying with due process and accountability in the management of our meagre resources. Recently, we conducted a biometric image capturing for our workers and pensioners and we discovered 1,735 fake pensioners and 800 ghost workers on our payroll which cumulatively saved us N1.3 billion monthly,” Esu said
He stated that memos for financial release had to pass through several screening stages beginning with the Due Process Department, from there to the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade, then Accountant General of the state and to the bank before monies are released for the execution of any government project.
“We have many signature projects which at the mere mention of them some of you may laugh while others wonder where the money for the execution of such projects would come from but they will be financed through the blocking of leakages in the finances of the state which even made it difficult for past government to pay salaries,” he added.
He said the state was establishing a state anti- corruption commission which will monitor the activities of political office holders and public servants and bring to book anyone who engages in corrupt practices.
“Since 2012, the state government passed into law the public account and fiscal responsibility law that has been operational to ensure proper accounting of funds by public office holders and those found culpable would not be spared,” Esu said
Ekpo Nta, Chairman of ICPC said the summit was to chart a course for Cross River State’s anti -corruption agenda which will enthrone integrity, transparency and accountability through exploring innovative solutions that will strengthen living options.”
He said that the purpose of the anti-corruption is to cater for the wellbeing of the majority of the citizens of the state and called for support for the ICPC in the fight against corruption.
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