Estacode scam: Foreign Ministry denies culpability

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that media reports indicative of an estacode scam in the ministry were false.
The spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile, in a statement made available to Daily Sun, in Abuja, said the estacode of all the officers who travelled to supervise the 2018 Promotion Examinations were paid directly into their accounts upon their return from the exercise.
Elias-Fatile further said the payments were made in naira and not in dollars as alleged.
He also said it was incorrect that over 100 officers of the ministry travelled to supervise the examination exercise.
Recall that media reports had it that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) was investigating estacode paid to 87 officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Civil Service Commission that conducted the 2018 promotion exercise of 59 foreign service officers in Kenya, London, New York and New Delhi.
While 36 officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were said to have engaged in the exercise, the Federal Civil Service Commission was said to have deployed 51 officers.
A total of N90,215,662 was said to have been involved in the scam, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs paying N37, 741,590 to its officers, while the Federal Civil Service Commission paid N52,474,072 to its officers.
“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja has been drawn to some misleading media reports indicating that the ministry is involved in an estacode scam. Consequently, this is to react to the false reports and set the records right.
“The estacode allowances of all the officers who travelled to supervise the 2018 Promotion Examinations in the four centres abroad (Kenya, London, New York and New Delhi) were paid directly into their accounts upon their return from the exercise. Besides, the payments were made in naira and not in dollars as alleged. In addition, it is incorrect that over 100 officers of the ministry travelled to supervise the examination exercise. Only 36 officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs travelled for the supervision,” Elias-Fatile said.
Elias-Fatile further said the allegation which was the basis of the EFCC’s investigation also alleged that only 59 officers sat for the promotion examinations.
“This is untrue. Over 129 officers sat for the promotion examinations. It is pertinent to utilize this opportunity to explain that the conduct of promotion examinations for officers and Nigerian diplomats abroad is statutory and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in charge of the supervision of officers on grade levels 7 to 14, while the Federal Civil Service Commission conducts and supervises examinations for all directorate level officers.
“Contrary to the content of the online report, it should be highlighted that the ministry followed all due processes in the payment of estacode to all officers involved and all the supervising officers travelled to the various centres to supervise the examinations, as approved,” Elias-Fatile added.
Elias-Fatile further said all documents pertaining to the conduct of the examinations and the financial implication were duly submitted to the EFCC for verification.
“Therefore, the report of any fraud in the payment of estacode as it relates to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, is absolutely false and should be disregarded,” Elias-Fatile concluded.