Kogi Judiciary discovers 706 illegal workers, 286 ghost staff.
IDRIS AHMED, LOKOJA.
Following suspicious fraud in the composition of workers in the Judiciary, the Staff Verification Committee set up by the Acting Chief Judge of Kogi State, Justice Josiah Joe Majebi, to asertain the nominal roll of the state High Court staff, has discovered 268 ghost workers.
Also uncovered are the 706 illegally recruited staff who have been on the payroll of the state judiciary since January 2021 have been recommended for outright termination.
Chairman of the probe panel, Justice Mohammed Etsu Umar, disclosed that the recruitment malpractice has led to an ‘astronomical’ increase in personnel emoluments, representing a 40 per cent increase in personnel cost.
“After a careful check of the names of newly employed staff from January 2021 to June 2022, the staff disposition list and payroll, it was discovered that some of the names on the payroll could not be found on the staff disposition list of the courts and other departments.
“Therefore, it is an indication that though their names are on the payroll but they do not have duty stations and do not work anywhere in the Inspectorate offices,” the report reads in part.
“It is our recommendation that it is an abnormality for staff to be on payroll without duty station. Such situation should be immediately corrected by the termination of employment of such persons affected.”
The Committee also recommends that “henceforth, employment (by the institution) should be highly regulated to the needs of the judiciary establishment and based on budgetary provisions and availability of vacancies.”
While appreciating the committee members for a thorough job, Kogi State Chief Judge, Justice Josiah Majebi, said the committee’s assignment would be a continuous exercise as he expressed his resolve to ensure routine scrutiny of the payroll of the high court and entire judiciary to safeguard staff welfare.
He said that with the utmost empathy and due process and diligence in Staff recruitment and the cardinal goal of his stewardship as the state Acting Chief Judge, Justice Majebi, vowed to implement the recommendations of the Committee without delay with a view to bring sanity and discipline to the state judicial service.
“I am being guided by the three principles of showing love and being concerned with the problems and happiness of the people I lead.
“And when I assumed office, I said the prevailing order cannot achieve what I want to achieve. So I had to joggle with the order. So, I changed the DPM and, I have always invited the Judiciary workers union (JUSUN) Chairman to be part of what we do because staff welfare and the interest of the system should always be our collective purpose. We cannot afford to allow the system to collapse,” he said.
The setting up of the state judiciary Staff verification committee followed the recommendation of the state high court council of Judges to that effect to check administrative malpractice.