From Osagie Otabor, Akure

There is panic among civil servants in Ondo State and staffers of government parastatals and agencies following the uncovering of massive fraud uncovered, employment racketeering, stealing and illegal promotion.

Besides fraud and other malfeasances, it was gathered that the state government is also investigating credentials of civil servants with a view to weed out those that presented fake certificates.

Already, the first batch of 25 civil servants found wanting were last week handed over to the police for prosecution.

One of those in police net sneaked the name of his wife, a trader, into the employment of the Ondo State Government and placed her on level 14.

The wife did not attend any interview as she was said to still be selling her wares but has been receiving monthly salaries.

A staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) was alleged to have pulled out the sum of N104m from the board’s coffers for himself.

A top government official who pleaded anonymity said more workers would soon be handed over to the police after investigations have been concluded.

The official said the fraud was wide spread and ‘deep’.

According to him, “We did promotion and decided to investigate. We discovered some staff on level 8 receiving the salary of level 14. Some promoted themselves.

“There were fictitious employment, Several persons names were in the payroll and the salaries go to some civil servants. This is not to say civil servants are thieves but the rot is very deep and we are going to uncover them.”

Senior Special Assistant to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Special Duties, Doyin Adebowale, had told reporters that the 25 civil servants were accused of various offences including stealing millions of naira, employment racketeering and including fictitious names in the pay roll of the state government.

Odebowale told newsmen that the suspended civil servants would be prosecuted and severely dealt with.

He explained that they were caught due to reforms carried out by the Head of Service, Mr. Alex Aragbaye.

According to him, “We are here because of certain suspects the Governor directed that we prosecute. In the civil service there has been this stealing going on undetected. They do it in several ways especially through staff list.

“We have people that imputed fictitious figures into the payroll. When the new Head of Service got into office, he put in place certain reforms to make us know those in actual service.

“We were able to discover that certain elements whose names appears on staff list were never employed. A particular man employed his wife and placed her on level 14. She never attended interview and she has been collecting salaries.

“One of them moved 104 million out of SUBEB account. We have other instances of other millions of naira moved. These were pure stealing. They have been suspended. They will be prosecuted and made to face disciplinary measures.”