Mr. Ntung, the Chairman, Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) was said to have diverted the funds meant for the payment of a committee set up to collate data on staff progression and analysis in the State Civil and Public service between 2012 and 2015.
Ntung, then a Permanent Secretary in the Local Government Service Commission, Plateau State, had filed a memo to “compensate” committee members for the extended time and scope of their assignment, from six weeks in June 2013, to nearly 26 months in August 2015.
The 43-member committee was set up in June 2012 to partner with the State’s ICT Committee to capture all relevant information on staff progression within the State Civil and Public service.
On completion of its assignment in June 2013, an additional task was given for it to study both secret and open files of all Local Government and Commission Headquarters staff in all seventeen Local Government Councils in the State, and later exended to pensioners.
The committee was tasked to capture all records relating to staff establishment status. This includes data from the establishment of the system in the 60s and 70s. It was also to establish and comment on any anomalies in staff progression, cadre and other relevant service matters. Furthermore, the committee was to suggest queries and/or discipline for any anomalies in staff records. The assignment later extended to Universal Basic Education Board staff.
In all, the committee treated over 60,000 staff files, completing its assignment in August 2015. Its reports are said to currently save the State over N400million monthly from ghost workers, in addition to identifying over 3000 existing vacancies, which the State attempted to fill in 2019 but was overwhelmed by over 50,000 applications.
The reports have also led to massive reforms in salary, pension and entitlement payments, placing the State among few in Nigeria with the most motivated workforce.
Similarly, it was on the committee’s recommendation that the State in 2015 established separate Ministries for Secondary and Higher education, the first in Nigeria, which have stabilized both systems, placing the State top in education.
The Plateau State Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) in June 2020 conducted its first general staff transfers in decades, also drawing from the committee’s assignment. 7,551 out of the 10,378 unified staff across the 17 LGCs of the state were shuffled, following demands by the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) and National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) on “No Work, No pay”, Staff Promotion, lack of conversion and the transfer of Staff who had spent more than five years in a particular station.
At the submission of the Committee's reports on 29th September, 2015, at a colorful ceremony at the Plateau State Government House, Jos, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong who inherited the project when he took over as Governor in May 2015, promised to immediately pay any responsibility allowances owed the committee members.
Contrary to earlier reports that each of the 43 members of the committee, was entitled to N4.5million, amounting to over N190million in total, for the staff evaluation of the State Civil Service Commission, Local Government Service Commission and State Universal Basic Education Board for the three year period of the assignment, the funds requested, based on secretly obtained files were a total of N53,220,000. An earlier proposal on 30th May 2014 had about N88million, as allowances for the Committee, and its State ICT committee partner, which was dissolved with the expiration of the Jonah Jang administration in May 2015, forcing a deletion of its share in the new memo by Mr. Ntung in December 2015. The requested N53,220,000 was approved by Governor Simon Lalong, contrary to earlier reports of a review due to financial difficulties.
Of the total sum, the verification committee had slightly over N30million: N900,000 for the Chairperson, N4.3million to be shared by six supervisors in the team, and N11.5million to be shared by 24 Assessors.
However, 1/5th of the total sum was paid instead, leaving the Chairperson with N180,000, Supervisors with N140,000 each, instead of N700,000 and Accessors with N96,000 each instead of N480,000. These were the funds mistaken for “Christmas package” in December 2015. About N18million out of the approved N53,220,000 had been allocated for Secretariat duties and stationaries but paid N240,000 (1/5th) instead.
Further findings trace delays in the release of the remaining N42,576,000 to administrative bottlenecks in the State Ministry of Finance, despite constant follow-up by concerned authorities.
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