Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Army officers investigated over school fees 'fraud'

By Thomas Harding, and James Kirkup, 08 Feb 2011:

Ministry of Defence police are looking at a school in Cornwall attended by Services children. One parent is said to have been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

The investigation concerns millions of pounds paid in allowances to military personnel for school fees, worth up to £17,000 a year.

The Daily Telegraph understands that those under investigation include an Army lieutenant colonel, a Royal Navy lieutenant commander and at least one other officer.
The Ministry of Defence spent almost £180 million last year on the allowance, which is intended to help military families to keep their children in the same school as their parents move around the world to different postings.

It is worth up to £5,833 per child per term for boarding places. For day pupils, the payment is capped at £4,482 per year. The investigation is understood to relate to suspicions that some personnel have been claiming the higher rate by falsely stating their children were boarding.

A senior officer linked to the inquiry said that anyone found to have improperly claimed the allowance would be made to repay the money and could face a court martial, with the possibility of imprisonment and dishonourable discharge. Read more>>

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