Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will soon com­mence the prosecution of the 43,000 persons so far discovered as ghost workers on the payroll of the Federal Government.

Also, the Federal Government said it has saved the country about N4.5billion through the ongoing na­tionwide Integrated Payroll and Per­sonnel Information System verifica­tion exercise.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun disclosed these in Sag­amu, Ogun State during her visit to the venue of the ongoing IPPIS verifica­tion of staff on the payroll of the Nige­ria Police Force at the Area Command in Sagamu, Ogun State.

According to Adeosun, the Federal Government has commenced discus­sions with EFCC regarding plans to prosecute the ghost workers already detected through the ongoing IPPIS verification exercise.

She added that more ghost workers were expected to be detected through the current IPPIS verification exercise and eliminated from the government payroll.

“Yes! We are in talks with the EFCC and they are going to start the prosecutions very soon. Some do not exist but get into the payroll through a

fraudulent way and some people are col­lecting salaries from two or three places. In fact, some people died and no one told us about their demise but through this exercise such people will be discovered.

“But when people are fraudulent, they should be prosecuted and if it is an error may be you resigned and you have writ­ten letters that the government should stop paying salaries into your account, but they have refused, it will be unfair to prosecute such people.

“The figure (ghost workers) keeps changing. Just as I have said. Every day we keep cleaning up the pay-roll and this has been going on for a long time, but so far, it seems it is about 43,000, and it keeps on increasing. And we would con­tinue until we remove all, because every time we remove those who shouldn’t be there, it creates room to employ those who are ready to work and create money to spend on things the country needs,” Adeosun said.

The finance minister also disclosed that the IPPIS has reduced the monthly payroll of the Federal Government by N4.5billion.

She further assured that the govern­ment would not relent in its efforts to further scale down its monthly payroll by eliminating every ghost worker from the system.

“So far we have reduced what we pay monthly by N4.5billion and it has been increasing every day, because ev­eryday those that are not supposed to be on the pay-roll are being removed. And we would keep on doing that until we are sure that everybody receiving salary from the Federal Government is valid and the only way we can do that is to pay salaries directly into their accounts, and we can also verify by using BVN to ensure that no multiple payment and that the people are alive. I think it is a very good thing,” Adeosun said.

The finance minister expressed de­light at the conduct of the exercise, say­ing it would fast track the payment of salaries of all staff on the Federal Gov­ernment payroll.

She said, “As you can see, the cap­turing is going on smoothly, it takes an average of four minutes to capture the biometric data of each police officer, which I think is very good, and the po­lice is one of the biggest employers of labour on the Federal Government pay­roll. Getting them into IPPIS is a great achievement of this administration.

“The officers are happy because it means their salaries will be paid much more earlier and directly into their ac­counts and they will have better service from the Federal Government.