Governor Rochas Okorocha yesterday raised the alarm over what he described as mindboggling corrupt practices being perpetrated by the state civil servants. The governor also disclosed that many civil servants in the state benefit unduly from different forms of graft, a development he said had resulted to one person drawing salaries and wages seven times in a month with seven different names while the state pays billions of naira monthly on salaries to ghost workers.
Briefing journalists at the state government house, Owerri, after returning from Turkey on a business and investment promotion trip, Okorocha vowed to block all revenue leakages more seriously now than ever, declaring war on ghost workers and pensioners in the state.
He disclosed that based on the verification his administration had carried out, he was shock to discover that non civil servants were collecting more salaries and pensions than civil servants and pensioners.
According to him, after the ongoing verification, permanent secretaries, directors and accountants found culpable would be summarily dismissed and made to refund all the money deemed to have been embezzled.
He stated that the financial sleaze in ministries and parastatals was responsible for the state spending 90 percent of its monthly allocations on salaries of workers and political appointees, who he said only constitute about one percent of the state’s population.
He also maintained his stance on privatisation of some of the government-owned parastatals and agencies, saying “I don’t any reason I should be paying N2 billion annually to staff of Water Board and yet no single person in Owerri or Imo State drinks water from there. “Tell me why I should continue to pay N4.8 billion annually to Imo Hospitals Management Board and yet nobody enjoys any service from the numerous hospitals in the state.
If I use N2 billion, I’ll give every household in Owerri metropolis borehole while N4.8 billion will be enough to take care of the health of the generality of the people of the state at least for one year. This is the same with other government parastatals and agencies in the state”, Okorocha said.
-Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri