Posted by From Eziuche Ubani in Abuja on
An internal committee set up by Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate alleged bribe-for-promotion racket, may have established a preliminary evidence in support of the veracity of the allegations.
An internal committee set up by Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate alleged bribe-for-promotion racket, may have established a preliminary evidence in support of the veracity of the allegations. The committee of inquiry has also established the identity of certain officers who should appear before it to clear their names, while advising the ministry on measures to control the damage done to its name.
This also comes as the Head of Service (HOS) of the Federation Alhaji Yayale Ahmed has also set up a committee to investigate the allegation of bribery at the Federal Civil Service Commission in the last promotion of civil servants.
The action followed a directive from President Olusegun Obasanjo who was petitioned from Foreign Affairs and Works Ministries.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) are embroiled in allegation of a promotion scandal, in which it was alleged that some officers between levels 14-17 paid between N150,000 to N200,000 to secure promotion to the next cadres in the 2004 exercise.
According to several petitions from staff of the ministry, those who paid the sums were made to answer the examination questions long after the tests had been administered. The answers were then marked and entered as the correct answers. Others were alleged to have been awarded marks agreed with agents and officers of the FCSC, who are said to have acted on behalf of an ambassador from one of the states in the North-West.
The matter had drawn the ire of the President, who it was said directed the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ambassador N.U.O Wadibia- Anyanwu and Head of Service, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, to get to the root of the scam, which the commission repeatedly denied, did not take place.
In response to the President's verbal directive, the Foreign Affairs Ministry set up a three-man-committee.
The committee made up of Ambassador G.O. Ajonye (under-secretary for Administration and Finance), Mr Suleiman Dahiru, a director and Mr E. Mbanefo Obako, in an interim report which was submitted to the Permanent Secretary on July 11, recommended that "all files relating to the matter" be "placed in the custody of the Director of Administration". It has also recommended that the Ministry respond to the reports in the media.
It is believed that silence on the matter created the impression that the ministry either condoned the crime, or is unwilling to do anything to restore its image.
The committee has also recommended that, "Mr. A Ogutuga, presently at the State House who was accused of cheating during the examinations should be immediately recalled to the headquarters to face charges".
The committee also wrote to one Mr. P.S.O Emuze, who though was not eligible to sit for the examinations, not only sat but was also promoted.
Another officer, Mr. P.I. Iyamabo, was alleged to have attempted to smuggle a written answer sheet into the hall. The committee has agreed to invite Iyamabo, and the director in charge of Appointments, Promotions and Establishment department, to "shed more light on what transpired both in the hall and afterwards since the D (APED) eventually forwarded the sealed answer sheets to the FCSC".
To underscore the seriousness of the matter, a memorandum to the committee from the Permanent Secretary, urged it to "move swiftly and establish the level of involvement or otherwise of some of our officers before the matter is referred to an external body".
The memo dated July 15, 2005, said the "matter at hand is so serious to the extent that the highest levels of government and key functionaries of the Administration" are concerned about the allegations.
"I do not believe there would be a hiding place for anyone involved in this matter", she said.
THISDAY gathered that very top foreign affairs professionals, scattered in government are so embarrassed by the scam that they are said to be urging the President to disband the commission, and cancel the 2004 promotions. "What shall we tell the world? How would they look at us in their capitals after this scandal?," one top serving officer asked.
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