Chartered jets: Reps turn heat on Alison-Madueke •Minister gets deadline to reply query •NNPC GMD, others also queried

Posted by News Express | 3 April 2014 | 3,444 times

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The House of Representatives may have turned the heat on Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, over the lawmakers’ plan to probe the multi-billion naira said to have been spent by her to charter private jets for alleged private use.

The Lower Chamber of the National Assembly has formally written the minister of its investigation while giving her one week to respond to a query.

The letter written and signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, was dated March 26, 2014.

The letter communicated to the minister and other stakeholders in the petroleum sector, of the House’s decision to probe the chartered private jets deal.

The decision to probe Mrs. Alison-Madueke followed a motion of Urgent National Importance moved by Hon. Samuel Adejare.

Other stakeholders queried by the committee are the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, the Evergreen Aviation Terminal and VistaJet International, alleged operators of the private Jets as well as the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

A member of the committee who opted to remain anonymous, disclosed that the minister was directed “to submit within a week, all she knew about the transactions, whether or not as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria she is entitled to such chartered private jets for private use, whether or not she has not breached Public Service Rules, who is responsible for the bills” and other necessary information that would assist the committee in getting to the root of the matter.”

Similarly, he said Mr. Yakubu is also to submit to the committee in a written form within one week all information relating to the deal from 2011 till date, the level of involvement of the NNPC, the contractual agreement between the corporation and the operators of the private jets and its financial commitment to it since 2011 till date, among others.

He said the private jet operators would also provide the committee the contract agreements between them and the NNPC from 2011 till date, all the flight schedules, the passengers’ manifests from the 2011 till date and the amount of money paid to them during the period.

He said the submission of the memoranda by parties involved in the deal, the committee would then fix a date for the public hearing on the matter as ordered by the House.

Meanwhile, the committee has said it has unearthed  new flight schedules operated on foreign trips allegedly by the minister between 2012 and 2013 using the Global Express Xrs—TAIL NO: S5-GMG and TAIL NO: OE-LGX,OE-LSS and OE-INA.

According to the committee, new passengers’ manifest, like the previous passengers’ manifests, the strange names of ministers (surnames withheld by us) featured frequently on the trips.

In the new discovery, it was alleged that one trip gulped $300,000 (about N50 million), the same journey that would have cost about N7.5 million while on another trip which took place on December 21, 2012 from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to Matson Airport in the United Kingdom allegedly on the Global Express Xrs with the number OE-LGX gulped N57.5 million as against the normal N6 million if it were not to be a chartered flight.

The committee also said that it has also discovered that there had never been a valid contractual agreement put in place for most of the billions of naira given to the private jet operators for the lease of their 850 Challenger aircraft for the minister’s use, but which frantic efforts were now reportedly being made to perfect since the matter became public knowledge.

Expressing optimism that the public hearing will unearth all the deals, the source said the committee would do a thorough job that would stand the test of time.

•Excerpted from a Daily Sun report. Photo shows Petroleum Minister, Deziani Alison-Madueke.

Source: News Express

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