AFTER series of verification exercises carried out in a bid to weed out payroll fraudsters and ghost workers from the state civil service, the Bayelsa State Government has finally given a reason why those caught in the act have not been sacked or prosecuted yet.
The secretary of the State Certificate Verification Committee, Chief Victor Sam-Ateki, in an interview in Yenagoa, said a lot of persons parading fake certificates have been identified but that the governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, directed that none of the culprits should be prosecuted.
He said that going by the findings of the committee, a lot of persons would have been dismissed or sent to jail, but that the governor has directed that their punishment should be to reduce their level in the service to the original certificate they can provide (First School Leaving Certificate or WASCE).
Explaining further he said the committee also identified some persons who reside in Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja that are listed as civil servants, drawing salaries from the state but don’t have any office where they are working in the state.
“These persons saw the opportunity as their share of the State’s cake but they failed to realise that their actions had an adverse effect on the State. But with the present reforms, all that is in the past.
“We have been able to identify clear cases of certificate forgery and we all know the legal implications of this act. Even at that, the governor is very liberal. He has not prosecuted anybody in that regard.
“The position of the governor is that we are all Bayelsans and we know how disadvantaged we are in the country in terms of employment. Those of them that may be placed above their proper qualification, the governor in his magnanimity has said they should be placed in positions that their qualification s can carry.”