The Abia State Local Government Service has uncovered 1,642 workers who were employed with fake certificates.
This was part of the revelation of a staff verification exercise undertaken by the state Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The Commissioner of Information, Charles Ogbonnaya, who disclosed this in Umuahia, hinted that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) indeed declared the certificates fake.
The Commissioner also said that about 300 workers in the system who were due for retirement are still in service and receiving salaries including some that resigned or retired.
He also said he discovered that seven workers in Bende local council who were collecting salaries are not there physically but working in other places outside the Local councils, state, or even outside of the country.
According to him, one of them is a Medical Doctor that he said works with the Umuahia Federal Medical Center, another person working at Amachara General Hospital, one working full time in Imo state, one residing in the United States of America even as another based in Malaysia answered his phone from there when the verification team called his telephone line.
He said that the state government is determined to recover all the money paid them as salaries and allowances including prosecuting them along those that presented fake certificates.
He urged the state National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) to assist government fish out such persons in the system adding that the aim of the exercise was to address the over-bloated staff strength of local council service adding that already, the state Executive Council had directed the Local Government Service Commission to implement fully the government resolutions as stated above.
The Commissioner, who gave the total number of staff of the state Local Government system at 17,400, disclosed that since the exercise commenced and the discoveries began to unfold, he has been getting threat calls from people who perhaps, are afraid that the exercise will be extended to the entire state public service.
He added: “We are doing the right thing and would encourage ‘whistle blowing ‘ by the public to fish out irregularly employed or fake serving workers in the state.”