Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, has said that over N300m fraud was uncovered following the verification of workers’ statuses in the 23 local government councils of the state.
The governor also disclosed that in only one month, an official of a council sold out 200 appointment letters to a contractor in the neighbouring Zamfara State.
Tambuwal, who made this known on Monday during a media chat held at the Government House, Sokoto, noted that the fraud discovered in the local governments’ salary vouchers had put on hold the inauguration of elected officials about two months after they were elected.
He said the discovery of the irregularities in the payment vouchers was responsible for the delay of the inauguration.
He added that the state government had recovered over N300m in one month from the payrolls of the 23 local government councils as a result of the ongoing verification exercise.
According to Tambuwal, “In one local government council in the state, an official sold 200 appointment letters to a contractor in Zamfara State.
“This fraud was discovered when the contractor sent a text to the Secretary to the Sokoto State Government, complaining that he had an agreement with an official who sold 200 appointment letters to him on an agreement that the salaries of the 200 persons would be remitted to him monthly.
“When the official could not send the salaries of a particular month to the contractor in Zamfara, he then sent a text to the SSG while we were together.
“The SSG showed me the text message, which informed our full-scale investigation into local government salary system.”
The governor noted that since all the local government areas had their payrolls padded with ghost workers, it became necessary for the state government to embark on staff audit in order to evolve clean payrolls for the new local government officials.
Tambuwal said federal allocation to the local government councils had not been sufficient to pay workers’ salaries over the months.
“We have had to look for money for them to be able to pay,” he said.
The governor added that most of the workers in the local councils were idle and fraudulent.