At least 60,000 ghost workers have been uncovered by the Federal Government since the introduction of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Osinbajo gave the update on government’s war on corruption at the 5th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity in Lagos on Thursday night.
This is almost twice the 33,000 figure given by Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, in October last year.
The minister said at the time that the removal of 33,000 ghost names from payroll of federal government’s ministries, departments and agencies had helped in reducing the wage bill from N166billion to N142billion.
The acting president did not say on Thursday how much government now saves with the uncovering of the 60,000 ghost workers.
But he said the closure of over 20, 000 government bank accounts and the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has brought a great deal of sanity into handling of public funds.
Also yielding positive results, according to him are ‘’getting all our armed forces personnel on the electronic human resource payroll to prevent scams in the service and the whistleblower policy.”
Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would not relent in the anti- corruption war although he stressed that the war was better fought by preventing it than trying to recover stolen funds.
He cited the $15billion arms funds allegedly stolen during ex- President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and the frustrations government currently faces in recovering stolen funds stashed abroad.
He said: ”In our investigations into defence spending, we discovered $15 billion unaccounted for, with no guarantee that we will ever be able to recover it.
“You can imagine the damage done by that corrupt act.
”You need to engage forensic consultants and hire other experts; even then, you will only have some hope of recovering some of what has been lost.”
“Many countries are reluctant to return proceeds of corruption by introducing legal obstacles of different kinds to ensure that we do not get back the money.