The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has detected ghost workers on its payroll after ordering the workers to line up and collect their salaries in cash.
Investigations by Punch Newspaper showed that the precarious financial situation of the party forced its leadership to take the action.
It was gathered that the National Chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff, was worried about the huge salary bill of the workers and decided to take action aiming at ascertaining the actual number of workers at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.
Sheriff was said to have inherited about N872m debt when he assumed office about a month ago.
Worried by this, Sheriff was said to have taken members of the National Workers Committee by surprise when on Thursday he directed the workers to get their salaries in cash.
A management employee, who spoke with our correspondent on Sunday, said that they were surprised when they (the workers) were directed to assemble inside the National Executive Committee hall at the national secretariat.
He said, “Sheriff has started the restructuring of the PDP for efficient and effective performance.
“March 24 will ever be a day to remember in our party. On that day, as early as 11am, the NWC and members of staff of the PDP, under the instruction of our national chairman, moved into the conference hall.
“The chairman also joined everyone in the hall. And to the surprise of all, the business of the day was the payment of staff salaries, which was done department after department.
“One after the other, after individual’s physical verification of each file and identity, thereafter you are then paid your salary in cash.”
The exercise was chaired by the national chairman who directed the National Treasurer, Mr. Buhari Bala, to call the workers by their departments.
Another management worker said, “Names of all the workers were called according to their departments and once you heard your name, you would come out to collect your salary by hand.
“This order was followed by the national treasurer and some employees of the Finance Department, who assisted him.
“All heads of departments were on the ground to observe the exercise.
“So, when a name was called, the person came out and his/her file was opened for verification before cash was paid to such a worker.
“And at about 6:30pm, the chairman left the hall to attend to other meetings, while the national treasurer continued to call the names of employees.
“In the absence of the national chairman, he called four departments, amongst them were the Youth Department and Security Department.”
Before calling the security staff on the list submitted, Bala was said to have complained that the list was too lengthy.
It was gathered that Bala realised during the payment that the security department had what he described as ghost workers and security personnel, as the names of policemen called were those who had left the service of the PDP immediately after the resignation of the then National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, about two years ago.
Some of the workers at the national secretariat had called on Sheriff to set up a panel to investigate those behind the scam.
One of them said, “The outcome of what happened on Thursday was an indication that salaries of those ghost workers were being collected by someone over the years.
“Ghost workers were also discovered in the other departments.”
It was gathered that seven policemen, who had left the party more than two years ago, were still being paid.
The affected policemen (names withheld) comprise of a DSP, an ASP, two inspectors, one sergeant and two corporals.
One of the police officers, who left the party some years ago, was posted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, but was still collecting salaries from the PDP or someone was collecting it on his behalf without his knowledge.
It was gathered that the pays included N12,000 allowance for conventional policemen and N30,000 for riot policemen.
It was also gathered that personal staff of past national chairmen, majority of whom had defected to other political parties, were still being paid by the party.
“If this isn’t true, then someone is collecting their salaries without their knowledge. A proper external audit of the members of staff must be conducted. Then the party must investigate those who have been collecting the salaries of these ghost workers,” another source added.
Bala, who confirmed the exercise, told our correspondent that the national chairman ordered the action.
He also said that some fictitious names were discovered during the exercise.