- N143bn Ghost Workers Scam
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed charges against five officials, who allegedly padded the Federal Government payroll with about 50,000 ‘ghost’ workers.
The Federal Government had said the nation lost N143bn to the salary fraud.
A reliable source in the EFCC told our correspondent on Sunday that the suspects had been charged to court but the case had not yet been assigned to any judge.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, had revealed in December that the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, created by the present administration, was able to uncover the 50,000 ‘ghost’ workers and saved the nation N13bn monthly during the year.
About 11 members of the syndicate that perpetuated the fraud were transferred to the EFCC.
A detective at the commission said, “You will recall that the Ministry of Finance sent the names of some suspects perpetrating the ‘ghost’ workers’ fraud. We have been able to charge five people. However, investigations are still ongoing.
“During the course of investigation, it was also discovered that a worker with the defunct Ministry of Housing and Urban Development was still receiving full salary after he had been transferred to the National Space Research and Development Agency. We discovered that he had collected N9.6m as salary while also collecting salary from his previous place of work.
“It was practically the fault of the ministry because the ministry did not stop his previous salary when it should have done so. The suspect is also culpable because he failed to inform the authorities.”
Meanwhile, the EFCC has also arrested an employee with Soft Alliance and Resources Limited for taking part in the alleged fraud.
The Federal Government, through the Accountant General of the Federation’s Office had, in 2011, signed a World Bank-sponsored contract with Soft Alliance for the provision of an Integrated Personnel & Payroll Information System.
The aim of the project was to provide a database of accurate records of federal civil servants in order to eliminate ‘ghost’ workers.
However, the EFCC discovered that a senior employee with SoftAlliance allegedly hacked into the database and inserted the names of her family members thereby stealing millions of naira from the Federal Government.
A detective at the commission stated, “A woman, who was posted to the Federal Civil Service Commission as a desk officer, added two of her family members and herself into the payroll of the Ministry of Education and was collecting salary for a number of years.
“Currently, we don’t know how much was stolen but we are still tracking the funds to know how much was spent.”
The Auditor General of the Federation, Samuel Ukura, had said last year that IPPIS was not capable of checking ‘ghost’ workers in the country due to the careless exposure of its database to the public.
At the 2014 Annual Audit Report presentation, Ukura maintained that the syndrome would continue unless the current management of IPPIS was cautioned by the appropriate authorities.
According to him, some unidentified workers of SoftAlliance Limited have unhindered access to the database and usually set up new users and change live data from time to time.
Ukura, while speaking with journalists after presenting his report, explained that the password controls for access to IPPIS were not adequate because the database could be accessed remotely through the Internet.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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