ABUJA, NOVEMBER 25, 2016 – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has revealed how he addressed the challenge of employment racketeers in his ministry and parastatal agencies.
Addressing members of Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism on oversight to his ministry on Thursday in Abuja, the minister said the racketeers swindled many unsuspected job seekers, promising t give them phantom jobs.
“When I came in, we were able to uncover a number of cartels engaging in unlawful employment.
“They gave bank account details which their victims paid huge sum of money into and after the payment they issued them with letters of employment.
“They even camped some of them in hotels for capturing into Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS)
“In fact, in a particular organisation, a level 17 Officer was involved in this racketeering, but unfortunately he is late now.
“When we discovered this we swung into action to get to the bottom of this and get some of them arrested.
“We are still on it and even some them have taken us to court,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that the ministry is committed to fighting the challenge of ghost workers and assured of bringing the perpetrators to book.
He said he had directed all the parastatal agencies under the ministries to submit their nominal rolls and anyone that failed to do so would have itself to blame for non-payment of its workers’ salaries from January 2017.
The minister told the lawmakers that there was the need to revisit and review the concept of budgeting on overhead cost particularly in certain ministries like Information and Culture.
“In my ministry, travel and visits cannot be seen as recurrent, they are capital for me. It is when I travel that I am able to bring back dividends to this country.
“I travelled to Spain sometimes in July, that single trip offered the country the right to bid for the hosting of the UN World Tourism Organisation for Africa for 2018.
“The trip earned us the support United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) to send three technical teams to assist the country in its tourism development.
“It was also during that trip that the UNTWO agreed to equip six zonal centres for women engaging in tourism in the country.
“For us in Culture and Tourism, visiting tourism sites with the intention of making them tourists attraction should not be seen as just simple recurrent expenditure.