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Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Friday said 38 dead principals of schools and 15 retired teachers were still being paid as substantive members of staff by the state government.
The governor made the revelation in at an interactive session with the principals of schools in the state.
Okowa chided the principals of such public secondary schools for feigning ignorance on the number of teachers who were dead, absconded or had retired but who were still being paid salaries in their schools.
The governor, who expressed his disappointment at the development, said the position of principal depicts integrity and authority.
He added that with the development, the integrity of the principals were now in doubt.
He said: “Investigations carried out by the government in Asaba and Agbor zones alone revealed that 28 strange names, 38 dead and 15 retired teachers were on the schools’ payroll.
“As heads of the schools, principals will be held liable for any fraudulent activity discovered in their schools.
“A principal is a position of authority and integrity and we should care about our conduct and as principals you should know the staff in your schools.
“I know that no principal will claim not to be aware of such names in their schools, yet they allow government to pay such salaries.
“This is fraudulent.
“The level of connivance is high for the names to still be in the payroll.
“Principals should know when persons are out of the system through retirement and death and pass such information to the relevant authority.”
Okowa declared that it was fraudulent and criminal for somebody that died as far back as 2012 to still be in the payroll.
He added that it was also fraudulent for any principal to continue to give returns to such persons in their nominal rolls.
“I want to assure you that such fraudulent cases discovered will be appropriately dealt with and handed over to security agencies for prosecution,” he said.
Okowa solicited the support of the principals to root out such fraudulent acts from schools, adding that government could not afford such wastage in the face of dwindling resources.
Okowa directed the principals to submit the nominal roll of their various schools to the office of the Head of Service.
According to the governor, the roll should contain the names of their staff, including those who are dead, retired or absconded and whose names still appear in the payroll.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Chiedu Ebie, said the meeting was held for the governor to address issues affecting the education sector.
Ebie added that the meeting would also enable the government ensure that principals live up to the expectations in discharging their duties.