Foreign ministry challenges Industrial Court’s N84m compensation judgment

The Ministry Foreign Affairs says it has appealed against a National Industrial Court judgment directing it to pay N84 million as compensation to a former member of staff of the ministry.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Bulus Lolo, said this while addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.

The Industrial Court on Tuesday stormed the ministry to shut it down for non-response to the court’s judgment.

Mr. Lolo explained that the ruling by the court was made in Feb. 2014 but no action was taken by the ministry to that effect.

“The incident on Tuesday arose from a ruling of the national industrial court in Feb. 2014 which was a suit instituted by a former member of staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on disciplinary action that was taken against him.

“He was serving in Sweden, got involved in a very fraudulent activity for which steps were taken to discipline him and arising from that action, he felt dissatisfied and instituted a court action against the ministry.

“The National Industrial Court ruled in favour of the officer and in the ruling an award of cash was made in compensation for so-called income that he should have earned if he were to serve outside the country.

“The industrial court ruled but from all indications no action was taken on the ruling of the court, either to pay the compensation that the court granted or to appeal the judgment that was made by the court.

“So failing that, the individual went back to the industrial court which only a few weeks back gave another order attaching the property of the ministry in whatever form that is moveable.

“In fact, there was an order for them to even go to our account and take N83 million and give to this individual.

“We have gone to court to appeal against that judgment, this morning we filed our motion and we are hoping that the court would give this case an accelerated hearing,” he said.

He, however, disagreed on the amount granted by the court to the former member of staff, Obinna Nnamma, stating that it was “outrageous”.

“What troubles me is the fact that the amount granted by the court, even if the officer was at post, he would not have earned such an outrageous sum of money. So it surprises me that our court could award such amount as compensation to this individual.”

Mr. Lolo added that the Federal Civil Service Commission and the Federal Ministry of Finance were in the case as defendants.

(NAN)

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