The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating the sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil amounting to over $2.4 billion and crude oil export to global destinations from 2014 to date, has demanded the appearance of the Attorney General of the Federation and minister of justice Abubakar Malami before it.
This according to the Committee Chairman, Mr. Mark Gbilla, is to give evidence on allegations that the Minister approved the payment of the sum of $200 million to two private firms as consultancy services fees on whistle blowers’ recoveries.
The Committee is also demanding the appearance of the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed to explain her role in the said approvals and payment without providing details of actual recoveries from whistle blowers.
The Committee Chairman gave the ruling at the resumed hearing of the investigation, saying that both ministers have been uncooperative with the panel despite several letters of invitation.
According to Mr. Gbilla, the panel is interested in knowing where the Attorney General derives his powers to approve payment of funds meant for the federation without recourse to the legislature through formal request by the executive.
“We’ve looked at the functions of the Attorney General’s office and we’ve not seen any statutory powers provided for the Attorney General by the constitution to determine how Nigeria’s money should be spent”.
“We need the Honourable Minister of Finance, and the Attorney General of the Federation to appear before this House to provide clarity on the inflows that have come in from whistle blowers recoveries, and about these monies that were recovered, and the CBN is required to provide information that has been provided by these whistle blowers about substantial amounts of monies that were paid supposedly and allegedly for consultancy services when there’s no record of any agreement entered into by those companies regarding any services.” he said.
The Committee Chairman added that failure of the two Ministers to honor the committee’s invitations would force the committee to invoke the instrument of summons and all other necessary powers the National Assembly can exercise in this regard.
Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu; Editing by Chinasa Ossai and Annabel Nwachukwu