Reps probe alleged overseas posting racketeering, inducement at Foreign Affairs

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday unveiled plans to investigate alleged racketeering of overseas posting of diplomats, costing the ministry millions of naira.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of matters of urgent public importance on: “Incessant malpractices associated with diplomatic posting and deliberate draining of resources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a call for investigation,” sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.

In his lead debate, Hon. Elumelu alleged that some officers who have been recalled from various Missions were still being paid their allowances as if they were still at the foreign missions they were previously serving in.

Hon. Elumelu stated that “these corrupt practices frustrate the efforts of those that are posted to replace the former officers still receiving such bonuses.”

Hon. Elumelu who frowned at the development, argued that the racketeering is done in connivance with officers at the headquarters.

“The House notes that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the statutory body saddled with the responsibilities of implementing foreign decisions and handling the external promotion of Nigeria’s domestic vision and ideas as well as increasing awareness about Nigeria’s economic potential.

“The House further note that these responsibilities are carried out through Nigerian diplomats posted to various foreign missions and international organizations to represent and protect the interest of Nigeria.

“The House is aware that there are serious allegations of massive fleecing to the tune of millions of dollars by some erring officials of the ministry through deliberate defiance of recall orders.

“The House is further aware that it’s been alleged that these officials one year after their recall to headquarters are still receiving full entitlements  such as accommodation allowance, house maintenance, transport allowance, medical and utility bills even though they have been officially posted back to Nigeria.

“The House is concerned that these alleged corrupt practices is said to be aided by staff of the human resources department of the ministry who collects sums of money from these erring officials and intentionally frustrates efforts of posted colleagues to replace those posted back to headquarters by refusing to perfect the needed documentation that will enable them resume duty at the various foreign missions.

“The House is further concerned that while these officials are busy fleecing the ministry of millions of dollars monthly, the ministry is said to have no functional clinic, no generators nor functional air conditioning system and no internet access, making the environment unconducive for staff to perform at optimal level.

“The House is worried that if these corrupt practices and consistent disregard for constituted authority by staff of the ministry is not put to check it may paint Nigeria in a bad image before the international community and ridicule the fight against corruption by Mr. President, hence the need for an urgent investigation,” he urged.

In his remarks, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who affirmed that he has been informed about the situation by the Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, mandated the Ccommittee on Foreign Affairs to as a matter of urgency investigate the allegations and report back to the House within four weeks.

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