Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Ebonyi gov seizes commissioners’ salaries over lateness

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has seized the October salaries of his commissioners, deputy chief of staff, special advisers and council chairmen for coming late to state functions.

Announcing the suspension of the salaries on the occasion of a school debate organised as part of activities marking the country’s 55th independence celebration, the governor, on noticing the scanty attendance at the venue, said that the absentee officials will forfeit their October salaries and their September over heads.

The event was also used to mark the 19th anniversary of the creation of the state.

There was a mild drama outside the venue of the event as the Deputy Governor, Kelechi Igwe ,and the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Bernard Odoh, who arrived the venue of the debate a few minutes after the governor arrived, were also locked out.

The deputy governor and the SSG were later allowed to enter into the conference centre having spent more than 15 minutes outside.

Officials affected included the newly appointed 13 caretaker committee chairmen, the 64 Development Center Coordinators, the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Clement Nweke.

Others include the state Commissioner for Environment, Moses Ali; Commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation, Sabinus Nwankwegu; and Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Charles Akpuenika, among others.

The governor also suspended the salaries of some Personal Assistants, Senior Special Assistants, Special Advisers and other government functionaries for their lateness to the school debate titled “Government’s anti-corruption crusade and internally generated revenue drive,” held at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, Abakaliki.

It was gathered that trouble started when the governor arrived the venue of the debate slated to commence at exactly 11am and met empty seats.

Umahi, who became angry by the situation after checking the manifest to ascertain the time for the programme, ordered the Head of Service, Mr. Chamberlin Nwele, to take the roll call of the government official present at the function and announce immediately the suspension of salaries of those absent.

Speaking after the debate competition, Umahi expressed regret over the increase in examination ‘miracle’ centres in the state and called for the arrest and prosecution of proprietors of such centres.

He directed that all ‘miracle’ centers in the state be closed down by the ministry of education.

The Senior Special Adviser to the governor on Religious and Welfare Matters, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, in a paper titled, “Anti-corruption crusade in Ebonyi State,” said corruption affected political stability and security of societies.

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