Ghost workers: EFCC begins trial of civil servants with 200 bank accounts, 8 others

Posted by Factnews | 7 years ago | 2,115 times

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, commenced trial of nine civil servants suspected to be behind the insertion of several fictitious names (ghost workers) on the payroll of the federal government. One of the suspects, according to EFCC findings, was found to own and operate about 200 personal bank accounts with different banks in Abuja.

Investigation also revealed that another suspect used the particulars of his family members to operate several accounts in various banks, while one of them confessed to own more than 50 houses in various locations in Abuja and its environs.

The suspects were picked from government agencies like the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Ministry of Environment and the Federal Civil Service Commission.

They are Usman Dayo, Osuntope Opeyemi, Johnson Adedokun, Ojeido Sylvanus, Oyebode Ayodeji, Florence Dada, Olaolu Dada, Blessing Ejeh and Aderibigbe Taiwo.

They were arraigned before Justice Peter Kekemeke of Court 14, Federal High Court, Apo, Abuja, where they were charged for allegedly creating and inserting fake names in the payroll of the federal government for salaries and allowances without official consent, thereby causing the loss of several millions of naira, which contravened Section 289 of the Criminal Act.

When the charges against them were read, all nine suspects pleaded not guilty. The EFCC prosecution counsel, Mukhtar Mohammed, asked the court to remand the suspects in prison custody pending the commencement of their trial.

Granting the request of the prosecution, Justice Kekemeke adjourned the case till November 8, 2017, to hear applications by counsel to three of the suspects for plea bargain.

The three suspects had applied through their lawyers to forfeit some property and cash in lieu of their conviction for the crimes. While the female suspects were remanded in Suleja Prisons in Niger State, their male counterparts would stay at Kuje Prisons, Abuja.

It was gathered that the alleged fraud was uncovered by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing (PICA), constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2016 to strengthen the controls over government personnel and pension costs.

PICA was set up to ensure that all federal government revenue receipts and payments were subjected to financial rules and regulations

It is the first time government would be arraigning civil servants for allegedly inserting ghost workers into government payroll despite years of reports of losses of billions of naira through such practices at federal ministries, departments and agencies.


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