By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Wednesday, set up a four-week enquiry into allegations that the ministry of foreign affairs, was fleecing the country of millions of dollars through diplomatic postings.
The House resolved to carry out the probe, after a motion by Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, entitled: “Incessant Malpractices Associated with Diplomatic Posting and deliberate Draining of Resources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a call for Investigation”, was adopted without debate.
Elumelu in his motion revealed 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. 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”.
He raised concerns that “these alleged corrupt practices is said to be aided by a 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 to resume duty at the various foreign missions”.
According to him, “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 an optimal level.
“Worried that if these corrupt practices and consistent disregard for constituted authority by the 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”.
The House then resolved to “ mandate its committee on foreign affairs to investigate these allegations and report back in 4 weeks”.