Abuja - The Nigeria Senate is investigating the controversy surrounding the sale of its foreign mission properties in the United States amid allegations that US$27 million was embezzled in the process.
The probe follows a petition made by Daniel Elombah, on behalf of a non-governmental organization that alleged Dr George Obiozor, who was the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States at the time the properties were sold, misappropriated the proceeds.
Obiozor, Foreign Affairs Minister Professor Gbenga Ashiru and Current Ambassador to the United States, Ade Adefuye, have appeared before the Committee on Foreign Affairs in connection with the sale of the properties between 2004 and 2007.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Nwagwu, said it was alleged that the resources were squandered by embassy officials.
“We will give them a chance to address the committee, to tell us what they know about the administration and management of the fund within their tenure from 2004 till date.
"There is a petition before the committee on the issue. We have the petition and we are taking it on the face value.
"We are giving this opportunity to the minister and ambassador to explain what happened,” said Nwagwu.
Elombah said considering given that the incident occurred between 2004 and 2009, it was imperative for lawmakers to carry out immediate investigation into the alleged disappearance of the funds.
“Records showed that between 2004 and the year 2007, the Embassy of Nigeria sold four prime properties of the Nigerian Government located in Washington D.C and Maryland.
"It also commenced the sale of a fifth property located in San Francisco, California," said Elombah.
He said for the sale of the properties, the government of Nigeria managed to retain the services of Eculaw Law Firm.
Elombah said out of those sales, Nigeria realized the sum of approximately $27 million.
"All funds realized from these sales, except those set aside as fees, were remitted to the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington D.C," said Elombah.
- CAJ News