By Our Reporter
The Nasarawa State House of Assembly has uncovered closed to 30 abnormalities in the operation of local government Joint Accounts in Nasarawa state
The speaker Nasarawa state House of Assembly, Rt.Hon.Ibrahim Balarabe-Abdullahi, who revealed this during deliberation on the report of the committee set up by the House to look into the staff salaries and other finances of local governments in the state, lamented on the level of graft being perpetrated at the local government councils.
Hon. Balarabe-Abdullahi, disclosed that among the abnormalities uncovered are two separate payment vouchers one being prepared by the Ministry for local government and the other prepares by Local Government councils all geared towards siphoning money meant for payment of workers. Through this hundreds of millions were said to have been siphoned into private pockets.
“There are several ghost workers and these ghost workers are being placed on directors and Education Secretaries grade levels” the speaker observed. Hon Balarabe Abdullahi who expressed his total displeasure over lack of audit report in the Local Government Councils in the state since 2016, also stated that other aspects of the discovery made by the committee includes conflicting figures for payment of pensioners between state and local government.
“The committee discovered duplication of names and arbitrary implementation of grade levels and steps, despite ban on promotions, this is in addition to arbitrary promotions of some local government staff, especially teachers without following due process among other abnormalities” the speaker further added. Hon Balarabe Abdullahi who noted that before the screening exercise directed by the state Assembly, only four local government Council’s can conveniently pay their salaries 100 percent but today the number has appreciated to 11 Local Governments with the exception of Lafia and Nassarawa Eggon Local Governments still battling up.
Speaker Balarabe-Abdullahi further stressed that the State Assembly recommended separation of the state Pension Bureau from the Local Government Pension Bureau, each to be headed by Director-General.
“We have also recommended that payment of salaries at the local government be centralized at each local government council secretariat and Joint Accounts Committee (JAC) meetings should be hold only for purposes of reconciling accounts of the various local governments not for sharing of funds as it used to be in the past” Hon Balarabe Abdullahi said.
The State Assembly also directed the state government to remit on monthly basis 10 percent of its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) funds to the local government Councils. While 5 percent statutory allocation to the traditional council shall henceforth be paid into the consolidated account with the Ministry for Local Government.
Hon. Balarabe-Abdullahi said that the state Ministry for Local Government should henceforth provide table of payment for the purpose of distribution of the 70 percent as its effect the graded chiefs in the state.
The speaker added that the State Assembly would not fold its hands and watch some people messing up with Local Government system in the state, stressing that anyone found wanting will be dealt with according to the law of the land.