The Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, on Sunday announced the suspension of October salaries of some top government officials for lateness during an event.
Announcing the decision during School Debate on Government Anti-Corruption Crusade at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Center, Abakaliki, the governor said the latecomers would also forfeit their September overheads.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the affected officials include the newly appointed 13 Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen, the 64 Development Center coordinators, the deputy chief of staff in the office of the deputy governor, Fidelix Okpata, and the principal secretary to the governor, Clement Nweke.
Others include the state commissioner for Environment, Moses Ali; commissioner for Economic Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation, Sabinus Nwankwegu and; and commissioner for Youth and Sports, Charles Akpuenika.
Also affected are Commissioners for Agriculture and Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Uchenna Orji and Samuel Okoronkwo respectively.
The state governor also suspended the salaries of some personal assistants, senior special assistants, special advisers and other government functionaries who were absent at the scheduled time.
Trouble started when the Governor arrived at the venue of the debate, slated to commence at exactly 11am and met empty seats.
Angered by the situation after checking the programmes of event to ascertain the time for the programme, the state governor ordered the Head of Service, Chamberlin Nwele, to take the list of the government functionaries present at the function.
Meanwhile, there was a drama outside the venue of the event as the state deputy governor, Kelechi Igwe, and the secretary to the state government, Bernard Odoh, who arrived at the venue a few minutes after the governor’s arrival, were also locked out.
The deputy governor and the SSG were later allowed entry into the conference center, having spent more than 15 minutes outside.
Speaking after the debate competition, Mr. Umahi however expressed regret over the increase in exams miracle centres in the state and called for the arrest and prosecution of proprietors of such miracle centres.
He directed that all miracle centres in the state must be closed by the Ministry of Education, adding that such centres also increase corrupt practices in the state.
The Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious and Welfare Matter, Abraham Nwali, in a paper titled, Anti-Corruption Crusade in Ebonyi State, said corruption did not only affect the political stability and security of societies, but also undermines principally the democratic institution, socioeconomic development and jeopardizes sustainable development and the rule of law.
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