ONSA uncovers N4bn fraud in Presidency

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  • Discovers 29 ghost officers on Aso Rock security payroll

A fraud involving about N4billion has been uncovered in the Presidency, our correspondent’s investigation has revealed.
The fraud, our correspondent learnt, had been perpetrated in the security arm of the Presidency over the years.
A thorough audit and verification exercise of the Presidency’s security arm ordered by the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Munguno, was said to have led to the discovery of the N4billion fraud.
The exercise was also said to have exposed the existence of no fewer than 29 ghost security personnel on the payroll of the Presidency in the past years.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that before the assumption of office of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, about N6.5billion had been budgeted for security in the Presidency for 2015.
Apparently alarmed by such a huge sum budgeted for security in Aso Rock, the NSA was said to have sought and secured the approval of President Buhari to carry investigation into the spending on internal security within the villa.
The alleged N4billion, our correspondent learnt, was part of the N6.5billion dedicated to the welfare of the security personnel and logistics in the Presidency, but which had been discovered to usually go into private pockets.
We gathered that the NSA, who saw the huge budgetary sum as outrageous, insisted that it should be reduced.
He was said to have subsequently brought the figure down to N2billion, a move, we gathered, was approved and commended by the President.
Our correspondent, however, also gathered that the exercise did not go down well with some top shots within the security circle in the Presidency, who have since become apprehensive that they could be exposed in the process.
A particular security agency, we also gathered, delayed the auditing and verification of its personnel attached to the Presidency for about six months before releasing them for the exercise a few days ago.
Our correspondent further learnt that under the N6.5billion budget regime, a junior security personnel in the Presidency received N18,000 per month, while his senior was entitled to N35,000 only without any form of welfare packages.
But since the verification exercise supervised by the ONSA, we learnt, the N2billion budget was now being effectively expended on the general benefit and welfare of men and women saddled with the responsibility of providing security in the Presidency.
Under the new dispensation, our correspondent learnt that a junior security personnel who was hitherto paid N18,000 monthly now collect a minimum of N80,000, while a senior personnel who received N35,000naira then, now gets a minimum of N150, 000, including other benefits.
The new security budget regime was also said to have introduced another new middle level cadre of personnel receiving a minimum of N100,000 monthly allowance and other attached benefits.
This upward review of allowances, it was learnt, is to ensure professional hierarchy and discipline aimed at boosting the morale of all the security personnel in the discharge of their statutory duties in the Presidency.
In addition to the increment in their monthly allowances, another quarterly special duty allowance was also said to have been introduced by the ONSA for all the security personnel in the Presidency.