Newborn On Nigeria Payroll, Earning $150 A Month

newborn baby payrollBy Yinka Ibukun

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- A newborn baby in Nigeria got added to a government payroll, earning about $150 a month for the last two or three years, a discovery indicative of the widespread corruption starving the oil-rich West African nation of much needed funds, authorities said Friday.

The baby was one of many so-called "ghost workers" found to be getting salaries without performing a job, said Garba Gajam, the attorney general of Zamfara state located in Nigeria's arid and impoverished northwest.

The employee was listed as being 1-month-old in government records, but Gajam said the child's father actually started collecting the salary before the baby was born. Records also show that the baby has a diploma.

Zamfara state has asked government workers to present their letters of employment and qualifications in a verification exercise meant to reverse a trend that has government workers giving fictitious jobs to family members to boost their pay checks.

"It's at the local government level that this is most rampant," said Gajam. "Leaving the local government with nothing to execute projects."

The local government is responsible for maintaining roads, disposing of garbage and providing public transportation. But diversions of funds, such as to "ghost workers," means the majority of Nigerians are left with virtually no services from their government.

Offenders in Zamfara state will have to refund all the money collected over the years and will also most likely be prosecuted, said Gajam.

But analysts say the trend cuts across the country.

"There is no state in Nigeria that doesn't have ghost workers," says Thompson Ayodele, director of Initiative for Public Policy Analysis in Lagos. "In this case, at least the baby is alive, what about the thousands of ghost workers who don't even exist?"

"Ghost workers" collect salaries and eventually qualify for pensions as well. The money is actually paid into the accounts of the people who created the identities.

"(Government workers) even continue collecting the pensions of dead people," says Ayodele who authored a book on the issue.

Eight people are standing trial at the moment for diverting pension funds using "nonexistent" persons, said Femi Babafemi, spokesman for Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

"Meanwhile, the real pensioners who earned these funds were left unattended to," he said.

Nigeria, a top crude oil supplier to the U.S., has a long history of corruption, with one official once estimating the country has lost more than $380 billion to graft since gaining its independence from Britain in 1960. Corruption trickles down from politicians in the capital city of Abuja to the lowest police officer who shake down bribes at traffic checkpoints.

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whats the big deal... ILLEGALS come to america and get 1345 a month plus housing free medical and free school lunches, heck even the presidents uncle 0mar has been here illegally for 20 years and when arrested disapeared from custody while his aunt has lived in public housing for 25 years... DOES THE TRUTH MAKE YOU ANGRY ? ? ?

November 14 2011 at 5:36 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Almost as bad as the corruption right here in the good ole US of A. Illegals getting Social Security, Welfare babes traded from mother to mother to get their benefits, insider trading by politicians, six-figure jobs given to political supporters, Medicaid & Medicare fraud, kick-backs, taxpayer monies to buy the President's books, and on and on and on..........

November 14 2011 at 5:08 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply


November 14 2011 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No other nations on the planet are even in the team picture when it comes to the corruption wrought by these renegade African nations.

November 14 2011 at 2:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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