- Nigeria’s External Affairs ministry has uncovered $15.3 million of school fees racket allegedly perpetrated by some Nigerian diplomats.
Minister Ojo Maduekwe said investigations were on, to determine the perpetrators, but vowed that those found culpable of defrauding the government would be dragged before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.
Mr Maduekwe said that some of the corrupt practices were found in the nation’s foreign missions, where career diplomats claimed tuition fees for non-existent children and wards.
He said the ministry’s decision to be paying the school fees directly to officials serving abroad instead of paying to the children’s schools opened room for corruption and abuses.
He said it had been difficult to ascertain the identities of the children and wards attending such schools and their actual number.
He noted that at least five officials in each of the missions claimed amounts ranging from $25, 000 to $30, 000 annually for school fees of their children and wards.
Mr Maduekwe expressed concern over the level of rot in the ministry and said the issue of integrity must be brought in the foreign service. “Repositioning the ministry does not mean we have failed to adjudge ourselves as failures but it means we have not done very well on the issue of corruption,” he said.
The ministry is expected to commence an investigation into the practice in all the missions abroad to determine the number of persons involved in the fees scam.
Nigeria remains in the top 10 list of the most corrupt states in the world.
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