SaharaReporters has uncovered how school principals and head teachers connived with the Delta State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the Post-Primary Education Board (PPEB) to use the names of dead and retired principals, teachers, head teachers and fictitious persons in public secondary and primary schools to defraud the government.
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had last week raised alarm during a meeting with public secondary school principals across the State after discovering that 28 strange names, 38 dead principals, and 15 retired or absconded teachers are still on the payroll of the State government.
SaharaReporters’ investigations revealed that certain secondary school principals and primary school head teachers have been working with top staff of the SUBEB and PPEB to defraud the State government by including names of dead and retired teachers and others not currently employed by the State government on the payroll.
A staff member of the SUBEB who wished to remain anonymous revealed to SaharaReporters that some top staffers of the board have been working hand-in-hand with heads of primary schools across the State, pocketing the salaries of dead and retired teachers every month.
"This is not new. This was going before this new administration was ushered in. Some heads of primary schools have been conniving with the SUBEB. We have a cabal that specialized in that here on the board. This is how they do it: once a teacher dies or leaves the job, the school’s heads will immediately notify the cabal in the SUBEB with the full details of the teachers, and the cabal then works to ensure that the salaries of the affected teachers continued to be paid.
"I can also tell you that in some cases, the secretaries of local education authorities in the various councils are also involved in this fraudulent and corrupt practice. Once the salaries are paid, they are shared among the school heads and the cabal on the board. Those in the accounting department who are responsible for salaries are also included in the deal. The more the government carries out verifications, the more the fraudulence goes on,” the staff member disclosed.
Speaking in confidence with SaharaReporters, a principal exonerated some of her colleagues, adding that the fraudulent and corrupt practices are mainly carried out by those at the PPEB.
According to the principal, she has written to the PPEB on several occasions, urging them to stop paying the salaries of dead and retired teachers, but thus far, nothing has been done. The salaries continue to be paid and deposited into the private pockets of corrupt school administrators.
"I have written a series of letters to complain to the PPEB to stop these salaries, but till date the salaries are still flowing into private pockets. Until a proper and thorough investigation is carried out, this fraud will continue. I know too well that this fraud is going on in secondary schools across the State,” the principal stated.
Mr. Okowa condemned these actions at his meeting with primary and secondary school principals and administrators, saying, “A principal is a position of authority and integrity, and we should care about our conduct. As principals, you should know the staff in your schools. From investigations done within the last one week in the Asaba and Agbor zones, we discovered that there are over 28 strange names, 38 dead teachers, 15 retired teachers and other absconded teachers on the payrolls of certain schools.
"I know that no principal will claim not to be aware of such names in their schools, yet they will allow the government to pay such salaries. This is fraudulent; the level of connivance is high for the names to still be on the payroll. Principals should know when persons are out of the system through retirement and death and pass such information to the relevant authority. I want to assure you that every fraudulent case discovered will be appropriately dealt with and handed over to security agencies for prosecution,” Mr. Okowa warned.