How ‘PDP’, dead civil servants received monthly salaries in Plateau

A judicial commission of inquiry has said it discovered that the Peoples Democratic Party, retired and deceased civil servants were paid monthly salaries by the state government under the immediate past governor, Jonah Jang.

The commission stated this on Monday when the statistician-general and salary administrator, Dagyat Pam, appeared before the commission in Jos, the state capital.

Mr. Pam was also the commissioner for the state planning commission under Mr. Jang.

The judicial panel was instituted by Governor Simon Lalong to probe financial dealings of the government in the eight years of Mr. Jang’s leadership.

It said a civil servant, using different names and bank accounts, collected N6.3 million as salary in one month.

The commission also said it had “details of retired civil servants and several deceased persons who were still on government payroll and collected salaries that amounted to N17 million until May 29, 2015.”

It added that “a civil servant with name of ‘PDP’ was on the payroll of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB”, collecting N4.5 million monthly until May 29, 2015.

Defending his role as the statistician-general and salary administrator, Mr. Dagyat said he recovered N1.4 billion from fraudulent civil servants in ministries and departments.

Earlier, while cross-examining the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dorcas Din, the commission also said it found out that about N2 billion meant for salaries of primary school teachers was diverted by Mr. Jang through the ministry.

Mrs. Din explained to the panel that the former governor issued directives not to pay the teachers on account of “no work, no pay”.

The former permanent secretary claimed that Mr. Jang once directed the ministry to pay N1 billion into the account of the basic education board, to replace money meant for teachers’ salaries earlier used for the payment of counterpart funding of the board.

Mrs. Din also told the commission that her ministry paid N252 million to a consulting firm, “GERAM consult”, as VAT and other withholding taxes to be remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

But the commission said it discovered that the said money was never remitted to FIRS.

Chairman of the commission, Justice Stephen Adah, said documents obtained from the federal tax agency showed that the ministry was owing FIRS N519 million in unremitted VAT and other taxes.

Also testifying before the commission, a retired cashier of the ministry, Rose Domlong, said N2.9 billion was withdrawn on a particular day from the ministry under the directive of her bosses.

Under cross examination, it was revealed that Mrs. Domlong cashed 26 cheques from one bank in one day.

Chairman of the commission, Mr. Adah, noted that Mrs. Domlong also withdrew N50 million naira three times from a bank on another day with different cheques.

The commission further noted that 37 cheques of not less than N9.9million each were signed by Mrs. Din and cashed by Mrs. Domlong.

The former permanent secretary, Mrs. Din, told the commission that all the transactions were duly approved by the governor and other stakeholders and that she only performed her duties as a civil servant.

The commission later gave the permanent secretary and the cashier three hours to provide all documentary evidence for the expenditure of the said monies.

Chris Hassan, who was the commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs at the time under review, was absent at the sitting.

The commission also said N500 million was diverted to Plateau Independent Electoral Commission, PLASIEC, in 2013 to conduct local government elections, although the commission had its own budget for the said elections.

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