(ANSA) - Rome, February 7 - Three children from the Congo who have been adopted by Italian families and are already in Italy may have been taken from their biological families in exchange for money, according to a statement on Tuesday by Silvia Della Monica, vice president of the government’s Commission on International Adoptions (CAI). Della Monica said judicial authorities have been notified.
"If the children were taken from their families and the organisations knew about it, there are precise responsibilities to determine," she said.
A final group of 18 out of a total of 66 children from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrived in Italy for adoption last June.
The adoptive parents, who had been protesting delays in the process, were not told of their arrival until the last pieces of red tape were removed.
DRC authorities authorized the 66 adopted children to join their Italian parents at the end of March.
Another 14 adopted children were authorized to leave the African country a year ago, in mid-February.
Then Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, now premier, hailed the June arrivals and said he hoped for speedy clearance so that the children can join their adoptive families soon.
In November 2015, the DRC approved the adoptions by foreign families, including Italians, of 69 children after a two-year wait.
In May 2014, an Italian Air Force jet carrying 31 Congolese children adopted by families in Italy arrived from the Congolese capital of Kinshasa, marking the happy conclusion to a protracted ordeal.
For eight months, 24 Italian couples had been unable to bring their adopted children home from the DRC despite completing the adoption process, due to lack of final clearance by Congolese authorities.
The government in Kinshasa in September that year suspended permissions on all international adoptions citing suspected irregularities, but admitted that none of the procedures in question concerned Italy.