The Federal Government, through the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, summoned the managing director of a first generation bank to Abuja on Friday in connection with the alleged salary fraud in the civil service.
The Director-General of the National Pension Commission, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, was also on Thursday seen at the Ministry of Finance in what sources said was a summon by the minister.
A source, who disclosed this to Saturday PUNCH, said it was part of the ongoing investigation of the 23,000 potential ghost workers in the federal civil service.
The source said the bank, headed by the affected MD, was fingered as one of the channels used for the salary fraud, which is currently being investigated.
Although details of the discussion with the officials of the finance ministry were not made public, sources told our correspondent that the bank MD pledged to cooperate with the probe panel on the salary scam.
The sources added that Adeosun had vowed to enlist the support of PenCom to investigate the activities of some Pension Fund Administrators alleged to have played some roles in the organised salary scam.
It was in view of this, Saturday PUNCH learnt, that the PenCom boss was summoned.
It was learnt that Anohu-Amazu was invited for a meeting with the probe panel where she was shown proofs that some PFAs might have colluded with some civil servants to perpetrate the scam.
According to the source, some of the PFAs were alleged to have generated fake PFA numbers for the “ghost workers”.
As such, Adeosun was said to have promised to launch a high-powered probe into the activities of PFAs and bring to book those found wanting.
Saturday PUNCH also learnt that representatives of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria equally met with Adeosun and top officials of the ministry on Thursday for an update on the ongoing probe of the salary scam.
The ASCSN members were said to have expressed shock and disbelief at the sheer weight of evidence against certain categories of civil servants, financial institutions and PFAs alleged to have ripped off the Federal Government through the coordinated salary scam.
According to the source, the representatives of the labour union, who had stormed the meeting suspecting a witch-hunt or deliberate plans by the Federal Government to reduce the staff strength, were taken aback when they were confronted with evidence that showed that certain categories of people had been drawing salary whereas their names were not on the nominal staff register of the Federal Civil Service.
The source said in order to allay the fears of the workers’ union that the exercise was not intended to lay off workers arbitrarily, Adeosun showed the union officials some documents generated by the probe panel so far.
These, according to the source, included letters written to some ministries and parastatals for information on personnel cost.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance on Media Matters, Festus Akanbi, said investigation into the potential 23,000 ghost workers in the Federal Civil Service is ongoing and that various investigative agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had been briefed on the matter.
Akanbi declined to speak on the summoning of the bank MD and the PENCOM boss, but promised to open up at the end of the investigation.
Adeosun had blown the lid on the monumental salary scam in the civil service when she appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance to defend her ministry’s budget last week.
She had revealed that the Bank Verification Number and Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System had helped the Federal Government to discover 23,000 ghost workers in the civil service.