House of Reps to Investigate Alleged Misconduct in IPPIS

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The House of Representatives has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged malfeasance in the management of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), a programme responsible for processing and payment of salaries and wages directly to government employees’ bank accounts.

The committee was also mandated to investigate alleged employment racketeering, alleged mismanagement of personnel recruitment across agencies of government.

This was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Wole Oke (PDP-Osun) at plenary on Wednesday.

Moving the motion earlier, Oke said that the Federal Government has numerous agencies, which represent the biggest employers of labour in Nigeria.

“The overhead of public institutions constitutes a major component in the budget of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Recruitment into public service has historically been a channel through which the Federal Government makes social interventions, stabilize society, reduces poverty and increases its access to all parts of Nigeria,” Oke explained.

The lawmaker underscored the essence and the importance of managing the process of recruitment and payment of civil servants and public officers.

“Notwithstanding this near-sacred role being played by the Federal Government, the process of recruiting and employment into the civil service has become one that is fraught with endemic corruption.

“Public institutions have since stopped the process of advertising for jobs and vacancies. Even in the few instances where adverts are published, the slots are already commoditized and available for the highest bidders.

“In other words, most public institutions now sell employment positions, notwithstanding the qualification of the applicant and the ability of the applicant to perform optimally on the job.

“This poses a major risk and has indeed constituted itself into a channel for the underperformance of the Nigerian public service,” he said.

Oke observed that between the 1960s and 1990s, Nigeria boasted of one of the best crops of public servants in the world, and service delivery was at the highest level of professionalism.

According to him, this situation has since changed, largely because of the method of recruitment and the quality of recruitment into these public institutions, which is driven by fraud, abuses, corruption and pecuniary considerations.

Oke said that the Federal Government had tried to address other abuses within the system, particularly the menace of ghost workers, which necessitated the introduction of the IPPIS to help fish out the large number of ghost workers.

The lawmaker alleged that some agencies of government in collusion with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning have devised methods to insert ghost workers and get payments through back-door channels.

“They have also crafted methods that are being used to circumvent the BVN technology. This state of affairs is costing the Federal Government billions of naira monthly in salary payments to ghost workers and in illegal payments to several civil servants across cadres.

“Worried that as things stand now, the Federal Government is not getting value for money, rather it is losing both in quality, quantity and substance across recruitment and payment of personnel.

“Even more worrisome is that some staff members that have been legitimately employed have not received salaries for months and years, despite the fact that they were recruited legally into the Federal Civil Service.

“Concerned that if urgent steps are not taken to investigate these challenges, the morale of most civil servants will be completely dampened.

“The Federal Government will continue to lose billions in monthly payments to ghost workers and illegal payments, and the nation will continue to be serviced by unqualified workers trooping into various sectors within the Federal Civil Service,” he said.

In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, mandated the committee to investigate the various agencies of government and tertiary institutions and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.