Abuja — THE Senate yesterday urged the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to immediately sanction and prosecute all firms, banks and individuals linked to the fraudulent creation of 23,000 ghost federal civil servants.
The Senate position followed a fresh declaration by the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, that the ghost worker syndrome had caused very serious leakage to the country's revenue system
She told the Senate Committee on Finance at a budget defence session at the National Assembly, that the 23,000 ghost workers discovered in the Federal Civil Service would be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
And in a swift response, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, John Eno, commended the ministry and charged them not to stop at just collecting the money but also reporting to the relevant agencies for necessary and urgent action.
The minister said banks that connived with the workers to pad the Federal Government payroll are going to be prosecuted too.
Adeosun said: "What the IPPIS-BVN registration has shown us has been a real revelation. We will try as much as possible to conclude that investigation within 30 days so that innocent people do not suffer, but we really need to clean our payroll.
"As we speak now, we have about 23,000 that we need to investigate. Those whom either the BVN is linked to multiple payment or the name on the BVN account is not consistent with the name on our own payroll.
"If we are able to get everybody onto the BVN platform, we will be able to save a considerable amount of personnel cost.
Not only will we remove those people from our payroll, but we will also be going after the banks involved to collect our money."
Asked what will happen to defaulting Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the minister said:
"My job is to get them off our payroll, what happens from there on goes to the investigative agencies; we will pass our files onto them and they will take a decision as to what sanctions they will take."
Adeosun also explained how the use of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) had assisted the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in checking against ghost worker syndrome.