Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure on Saturday in Lagos during a meeting with some selected on-air-personalities.
The meeting was part of the minister’s five-day consultations with critical stakeholders in the media industry. Mohammed said the affected officers were on Grade Level 17 in one of the parastatals in the ministry.
He said the officers had included the names of the applicants in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel System (IPPIS) before the fraud was discovered.
“The first scandal I met in one of the parastatals when I assumed office was the illegal employment of 400 people,” he said.
“This scandal started with very senior officers up to level 17 in that department.
“They sent out letters and text messages asking people to apply for jobs for a fee of N400, 000 and they were given letters of employment.
“They did not stop there. They invited these people to go and be captured on the IPPIS and they even took cameras to hotels to get them captured. At the end of the day the bubble burst.
“One of the victims told these officials, you cannot take my money and still disengage me. I have a valid letter. That is how we got to know that there is a dedicated account these people pay to.
“Of course, we dismissed these officials and we even handed them over to the police.”
Mohammed said the incident showed how faulty the IPPIS was and how it had been compromised by unscrupulous elements.
He said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was doing all it could to make the IPPIS tamper-proof and guide it from people who might want to load ghost workers on it.
He described on-air personalities as “very important” in the media industry and urged them to leverage on their platforms to educate the people on government’s policies.
The minister said the current war against corruption was a war of survival for the nation and urged all Nigerians to give it the necessary support.