How Sacked Auditor General padded wage bill in Cross River State

Jul 26, 2023 - 14:21
Jul 26, 2023 - 17:44
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How Sacked Auditor General padded wage bill in Cross River State
Mrs Franka Inok, former Auditor General, Cross River Local Governments & Comrade John Odey, former Auditor General of Cross River State


By Edem ITA

 

F

resh facts have emerged why Governor Bassy Otu fired the former Auditor General of the State, Comrade John Odey, and his local government counterpart, Mrs. Franka Inok.

Recall that barely a month after assuming office, Governor Otu, through a circular dated June 29 and endorsed by the chairman of the state Civil Service Commission, Oko Inaku, ordered the duo to immediately proceed on terminal leave and hand over to their next in command. The directive was initially resisted by the duo who responded with an open letter questioning the power of the Governor to terminate their appointments with statutory subsisting tenure.

Though Comrade Odey later relinquished his plum schedule and handed over after two weeks of frenzy, his embattled partner, erstwhile Auditor General for local government, Mrs Inok is however yet to comply with the directive even as she is still holding on to the office seal, keys, and other official items in her custody.  Investigations by The Beagle News revealed that apart from the discovery by the government that the duo did not merit the sensitive portfolios given their academic and professional resume at the time of their appointments culminating in the litany of financial blunders trailing their tenures, the final straw the last broke the proverbial caramel back is the discovery of massive padding of the state nominal roll perfected by the former Auditor General.

The padded nominal roll automatically inflated the wage bill currently giving Governor Bassey Otu nightmares and delaying payment of salaries to workers in the state and local government service.  As at the time of going to press, June salaries of workers in the state have not been paid.

According to insiders, "when former governor Senator Ben Ayade allegedly devised a means of short-changing his over five thousand appointees by paying them less than half of the amount quoted on their pay slip while siphoning the balance without kickbacks to the AG and his team for facilitating the rip off"

"The AG was left with no other alternative than to invent his modus operandi of milking the state through the payroll which he had hijacked from the Accountant General office against standard practice and civil service rules. The Local Government version was also commandeered from the Ministry of Local Government Affairs, despite protest from former Head of Service Mrs. Geraldine Akpet"

Our source continued: "What he did was to reach out to some trusted allies within the assistant directors and directors’ cadre in the service where he struck a deal to inflate their salaries based on agreed sharing formula.

"Having reached a compromise, the AG and his team of accomplices notable the nominal roll consultants neatly carried out consequential adjustment of the monthly earnings of the "expatriates" staff who were now entitled to mouth-watering package ranging from to N900.000 per month.

Findings revealed that the AG was personally earning a whopping N1.3 million monthly package from the backstage consolidated salary structure

The staggering amount arising from the bloated earnings of the cartel accounts for the astronomical wage bill which rattled Governor Otu who immediately demanded an urgent probe and personal audit to fish out loopholes and authenticate the entire system.

Though, it's not yet clear the punitive measures likely to be used by the governor in handling of huge fraud, an insider confided in The Beagle News that the state has so far lost several millions of Naira to the salary racket.