After SaharaReporters’ Story, Delta Head Of Personnel Management Pays Staff Salaries, Vows Not To Pay Ex-Political Office Holders

Forty-eight hours after SaharaReporters reported how a Redeemed Christian Church of God pastor, who is the Head of Personnel Management, (HPM), Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State, Henry Obukowho, and Treasurer to the Local Government, (TLG), Fejiro Ogbogbo, were enmeshed in N2,475,000 salary embezzlement scandal, it was learnt that affected staff members received their salaries.

The N2,475,000 was released by the state government alongside N1 million for the HPM’s security vote but after taking his N1 million, he refused to pay the affected staff members and political office holders several weeks after the money was released for the payment of salaries.

Speaking with our correspondent, an elated employee of the local government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “After SaharaReporters’ story, barely two days later, our HMP, Pastor Obukowho, started running helter-skelter. He was so troubled and restless. And before we knew what was happening, some of us whom he had refused to pay, were called and our January salaries were given to us in cash.

“We always received our salaries promptly but immediately the tenure of the local government chairman, Emmanuel Egbabor, ended on January 7, 2021, and our HPM stepped in as sole administrator pending when council polls will be conducted on March 6, he refused to pay us our January salaries. He connived with some officials in the council to embezzle the money.”

Another employee confirmed to SaharaReporters that all the affected employees had received their January salaries but that political office holders had yet to be paid.

The source said, “Five security men got N35,000 each. Two clerical officers got N30,000 each, 15 casual environment staff members got N10,000 each. The total amount was N385,000 for the payment of our January salaries which the HPM refused to pay us. But immediately the issue was made public by SaharaReporters, everything changed. Our HPM had to quickly get the money to pay us. We were paid two days after the report.

“However, our HPM has vowed that he will not pay the political office holders. The other day, he boasted that he would not pay the immediate past council chairman, his deputy, and the SA to the former chairman. However, he has partially agreed to look for cash to pay only the five supervisors, and the Secretary to the Local Government (SLG). 

“The HPM was supposed to pay N2,090,000 to the immediate past political office holders in the council. 20 councillors to get N70,000 each; five supervisors to get N70,000 each. Secretary to the Local Government (SLG) and Special Assistant (SA) to the council chairman, N70,000 each. The council chairman and the vice-chairmen are to get N100,000 each. But the HPM has vowed not to pay the former chairman, his deputy, and SA.”

As of the time of filing this report, the Head of Personnel Management, (HPM), Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State, Obukowho, who had before now denied the embezzlement, did not answer his calls or respond to text messages sent to him.

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