By Emmanuel Elebeke
Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier-General Paul Boroh (retd), has said that the culture of double payment to beneficiaries of the amnesty programme was against the financial regulations of the country and international best practice.
To end the trend, he said that the old culture of double payment to beneficiaries in schools had been discontinued.
According to Gen. Boroh, hitherto, some beneficiaries who collect stipends were also paid In-Training-Allowances while on the programme’s scholarship.
In a statement by Media and Communication Consultant, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Owei Lakemfa, he said that the action amounted to double payment, which was against government rules.
He said: “What I met was a situation where an amnesty beneficiary who is on monthly stipend, is also paid monthly In-Training-Allowance, ITA, which is also a sustenance allowance.
“This amounted to double payment. It is against the Financial Regulations of the country and international best practice. But in changing the system, we had to carry out thorough biometric verification to match the stipend beneficiary and the scholarship beneficiary receiving the ITA.
“While there are matches, we have made and subsequently stopped the double payments, there are those we have not been able to match due to the fact that they used their ‘nick names’ in registering for the amnesty while using their real names in registering in the tertiary institutions.”
“For this category of beneficiaries, the necessary match will be made when we complete the biometric verification, and their double payment will be stopped.”
General Boroh who is also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta said, that the amnesty programme was at its final stage of integration and that stipend payment was also being stopped for beneficiaries who have been trained and empowered.
He said, “We regard all beneficiaries who have benefited from the Amnesty Programme scholarship and had studied and graduated from various local and foreign universities, as people who have been trained and empowered because to earn a degree, is empowerment. However, the Presidential Amnesty Programme will continue to assist beneficiaries in their efforts to secure gainful employment.”
He assured beneficiaries who have outstanding training and empowerment or type training in Maritime or Aviation, that they would be completed in the on-going process of sustainably integrating all the beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
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