Turaki Hassan, Special Adviser to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has alleged that a purported list of 1000 ‘Ghost Workers’ is being used by the Bauchi State Government to siphon public funds to private use.
Turaki alleged that the 1000 names on the list were being used by the APC-led administration of Governor Mohammed Abubakar to divert public funds to private pockets in the guise of salaries and allowances monthly.
A check through the list revealed that the names of government functionaries who served in one office or the other during the eight years of the tenure of the immediate past administration of Governor Isa Yuguda whose name is on the list alongside that of his Deputy, Sagir Aminu Saleh.
Also included on the list is that of Senator Babayo Garba Gamawa who once served as the Deputy Governor to Isa Yuguda during his first tenure before he was elected as a Senator representing Bauchi North Senatorial District just as the name of Deacon Sunday Oladipo who died about six years ago also appeared on the list.
The list of the 1000 ‘Ghost workers’ according to Turaki was in fulfilment of the promise made by the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the build-up to the 2019 general elections to make public documents and proof of how huge sums of money meant for public use was being diverted into private pockets by the government.
It would be recalled that during a campaign rally in Dass, Dogara had alleged that over N400 billion was misappropriated by the APC-led administration in the state being money from federal allocation and bailout funds as well as the Paris Club refunds to state governments promising to make the documents public to back up his allegations.
But in a disclaimer titled “I AM NOT A GHOST WORKER,” one of the people whose name appeared on the list, Professor Abubakar Sani Malami declared that he is not a ghost worker having left the services of Bauchi State Government since 2015.
He wrote in the disclaimer that: “In the last couple of days my very good friend, Turaki Hassan the SA Media to RT. Hon. Yakubu Dogara has cause to circulate a list of over 1,000 ghost workers who were allegedly on the payroll of the Government of Bauchi State. As if that is not scandalous enough, to my astonishment, my own name appeared on the list as No.781 with date of employment 24 July 2015, BVN 22349004096 and account number 8014478467.”
He further stated that: “This notice should, therefore, serve as a disclaimer, as I had left the services of the government of Bauchi State precisely on 29 May 2015 and I have no link whatsoever to the mentioned account and BVN number.”
Sani Malami who served as the Commissioner o Health in the immediate past administration of former Governor Isa Yuguda further wrote that, “I would also advise members of the public including our elder statesmen to critically scrutinise the list too, in order to avoid embarrassment, as I have discovered that among the names of innocent people used to execute this monumental fraud were those of HE Malam Isa Yuguda ( No. 720) with date of birth 30-12-1899; Barr Muktar A Usman, former Attorney General (No. 779), Prof Andrew Haruna, Vice Chancellor (No. 777), HE Sagir Aminu Saleh (No.717) etc.”
He added that: “Interestingly all the ghosts were being paid salaries into one bank account. May God help our state – and thanks a million to Turaki Hassan for your excellence in investigative journalism!”
But in a swift reaction to the allegations, the Bauchi State Government dismissed the list of ghost workers describing it as “laughable.”
The Special Adviser on Media and Strategy to the Bauchi State Governor, Ali M. Ali, in a media statement made available to newsmen in Bauchi on Tuesday, stated that “the state government does not need to inflate its workforce to siphon public funds.”
He further stated that: “There is a list of ‘Ghost workers’ currently, making another inglorious round of spreading falsehood in cyberspace. Expectedly it is from the usual suspects that made a career in misrepresenting the government of MA Abubakar.
“This is not the first time this list had sauntered across social media with its outlandish claims of ‘ghost workers ‘ being in the employment of BASG. The motive, accordingly, was to siphon public resources. Very laughable. An executive intent on pilfering the treasury need not inflate the workforce,” he added.
Ali Ali added that it is laughable that the state Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, who spent several months verifying the state labour force will turn out to inflate same.
According to him, “‘the list’ also has names that are incredible and curiously all of them having identical BVN and bank account numbers obtainable only in its imaginary world. We had cause to address this ‘list’ in the past when Speaker Dogara raised the issue just before the election. We are responding again and hopefully for the last time.
“No such Ghost workers are on the payroll of the Government of MA Abubakar. As a propaganda piece, it might have worked before the polls but to rehatch and present it as new is falsehood too many,” he stated.