Operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have arrested two private security guards over alleged theft of N5 million from the coffers of the Maiduguri Specialist Hospital.
A competent source told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the suspects were nabbed in Maiduguri on Saturday in following a tip off by officers of the command.
The source said that the suspects were already placed on SARS wanted list since May.
NAN gathered that “the suspects gained access to the money through the ceiling in the office of the cashier in the hospital on May 1, where they allegedly broke the safe and stole the amount.
“They bought a Honda car at the rate of N2.6 million, relocated to Kano and squandered the whole money. They later sold the vehicle when they became broke, then cruised with the proceed and returned to Maiduguri when nothing was left.”
Laraba Bello, the Medical Director of the hospital who confirmed the incident, told NAN that the suspects were security men working with a private guards security company in the hospital.
Ms Bello said “On May 1st, our Central Cashier met his safe broken but the door in his office was locked. They gained access through the ceiling and stole the money in the safe.
She explained that the incident had exposed many of the staff of the hospital to untold hardships and trauma.
On alleged non payment of salaries by the private guards company, Ms Bello said “even if they were not paid on time by their employees, that shouldn’t warrant them to steal from the hospital. And we heard they bought a Honda accord which simply shows that they are not hungry.”
Reacting, Babatunde Satomey, the Managing Director of HIM Global Nigerian Security Limited, said the suspects were dismissed from the company in April before committing the crime.
“Both of them were dismissed from the company. One was found misbehaving in the last place of his posting and we dismissed him while the other was not living up to our expectations,” he said.
Mr Satomey said that security guards in the hospital were owed few months salaries in the past, but that had been settled.
“It is not true that we did not pay our security men for eight months. Whoever is given you that information, that is not true,” he said.
On profiling of staff before recruiting them, he said that the company had put in place modalities to ensure that criminals were not employed.
“There are bad eggs everywhere, but we make sure we don’t employ until you bring two guarantors. No private guards security company will employ anybody without vetting the employee. The police also had to give clearance before we employ anybody.
“We had meetings with the police, military, NSCDC, DSS and other security outfits in the state. Our fear was not even employing thieves but employing Boko Haram. So we have our ways of checkmating every person in our company,” Mr Satomey said.
Edet Okon, the Borno Police Public Relations Officer, said the command would unravel additional information about the crime after a briefing by the SARS team on the incident.