Posted by News Express | 21 March 2014 | 6,774 times
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Allison-Madueke, is to appear before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Account to explain the source of alleged N3.120 billion used to pay for charter of aircraft within two years.
A member, Samuel Adejare (APC Lagos), levelled the allegation against the minister yesterday in a motion at plenary.
The minister was also said to have spent another N10 billion for maintenance of an aircraft, a Challenger 850 Aircraft and its crew in the last two years.
Adejare, who represents Agege Federal Constituency, Lagos, made the allegations in his motion entitled, ‘Urgent Need to Investigate the Waste of Resources on the Arbitrary Charter and Maintenance of a Challenger 850 Aircraft for Non-official Use’.
In his lead debate on the motion, Adejare said it was wrong for the minister to have spent such money on frivolities at a time the resources of the country were dwindling and government complaining of lean purse.
“In these days of scarce national resources where public finance is shrinking in the face of ever increasing national needs such as roads, health, education and power, among others an official of government could waste public funds on such luxury as chartering a Challenger 850 Aircraft for extra official use.
“In recent times, most states of the federation have been facing acute shortage of allocations due to the dwindling national revenue which has reduced the quality of governance and deprived the people of dividends of democracy,” he complained.
Insisting that the allegation against the minister was not a cooked up one, the lawmaker said his submission on the issue “is based on reliable evidence.”
“The Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, has been committing the sum of 500,000 Euros (N130 million) monthly to maintain the aircraft, thus in two years, the Minister had committed at least N3.120 billion in maintaining the private jet which is used solely for her personal needs and those of her immediate family, which is an appalling act” he added.
Adejare also explained that “there are strong indications that the above expenditure is only a tip of the iceberg as several other billions of naira have been allegedly wasted on flying the jet all over the world obviously for the leisure of the Hon. Minister and her immediate family on trips that were of no benefit to the country.
“This colossal waste is currently estimated at N10 billion, which include the payment of allowances to the crew for the trips, hanger parking and rent based on the lease agreement.
“If government could be bankrolling this waste in the face of ever dwindling public resources, it amounts to a misplacement of priority, impudence and breach of public trust, an action that offends the Fiscal Responsibility Act and all other laws on fiscal discipline in Nigeria.”
Adejare explained that an investigation into the matter revealed that the minister was financing the lease of the aircraft with public funds.
At this stage, a member of the parliament, Friday Itulah (PDP, Edo), rose to oppose the motion, but the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, who presided quickly intervened, asking Itulah to stay action until he calls for a debate to oppose the motion.
Itulah, however, explained that the House rule does not create room for motions of this nature to be debated, adding that “we will put it to a voice vote and refer it to the relevant committee for further legislative action.”
When it was put to voice vote, it was unanimously supported by members, and the Speaker ruled that the House Committee on Public Account take charge of the probe and report back to the House within two weeks.
•Credit (except headline): Daily Independent.
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