Diezani probe: Court stops Reps

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Ibrahim Kabiru Sule

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion of petroleum min­is­ter Mrs. Diezani AlisonMadueke over al­leged spend­ing of N10 bil­lion on pri­vate jet by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives suf­fered a set­back yes­ter­day af­ter the min­is­ter ob­tained a court or­der stop­ping the process.

The min­is­ter al­legedly spent N10 bil­lion on hir­ing and main­te­nance of an air­craft for pri­vate pur­poses. The court or­der has now pulled the plug on the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, chair­man of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­mit­tee Rep Solomon Ade­o­laOlamilekan said yes­ter­day.

Ac­cord­ing to a copy of the re­strain­ing or­der seen by Daily Trust, Jus­tice Ahmed Mo­hammed of the Federal High Court gave an ex parte or­der re­strain­ing the law­mak­ers from re­quest­ing the min­is­ter to pro­duce any pa­pers, notes or documents be­fore any of its com­mit­tees “pend­ing the hear­ing and de­ter­mi­na­tion of the mo­tion on no­tice.”

The or­der was given based on an ap­pli­ca­tion by the min­is­ter’s coun­sel Etigwe Uwa.

The com­mit­tee had sched­uled yes­ter­day for the com­mence­ment of the pub­lic hear­ing on the al­le­ga­tion where the min­is­ter and other stake­hold­ers were billed to ap­pear.

House spokesper­son Rep Zakari Mo­hammed along­side the com­mit­tee’s chair­man, Rep Ade­o­laOlamilekan, in a press brief­ing said a court or­der that was served to the of­fice of the speaker yes­ter­day stopped the com­mence­ment of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Rep Zakari said “we have been served with a court or­der, no­ti­fy­ing us that they have gone to court.

“The im­port of this is that for us as leg­is­la­tors, it is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to ex­pose cor­rup­tion, but of course this is an­other demon­stra­tion of the frus­tra­tions we face from govern­ment.”

He said as a law abid­ing arm of govern­ment, “we would tarry a while and take a le­gal ad­vice about this is­sue.”

Rep Ade­ola-Olamilekan said his com­mit­tee had es­tab­lished the pre­lim­i­nary process for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ob­tained crit­i­cal documents from Lon­don and the hanger com­pany in Nigeria about the flights’ de­tails.

The only en­ti­ties and in­di­vid­ual left to fur­nish the com­mit­tee with re­quired de­tails in­clude the Nige­rian Na­tional Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion (NNPC), min­is­ter of petroleum, Federal Air­port Author­ity of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nige­rian civil Avi­a­tion author­ity (NCAA).

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