Posted by News Express | 26 May 2014 | 4,463 times
Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has revealed why she snubbed the summons by the House of Representatives, which insist on probing the allegation that she spent about N10 billion for hiring aircraft within two years.
Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who has routinely been accused of corruption but is never brought to book, said in court papers that neither the National Assembly nor its various committees could invite her and the agencies under her ministry to produce unpublished documents and other records without a prior consent of President Goodluck Jonathan. Instructively, President Jonathan had during his recent Media Chat vigorously defended Mrs. Alison-Madueke and berated the House of Reps for allegedly hounding her.
In a supporting affidavit in a fresh suit seeking to stop the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives from investigating the allegation that she spent about N10 billion on aircraft leases, Mrs. Alison-Madueke and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)
reiterated that they would not honour the invitation sent to them and other officials of agencies under them.
They said: She said: “By law, the respondents are enjoined to seek the consent of the president before ordering the applicants to tender the official unpublished papers, books, and records.
“All the documents being requested of the applicants by the respondents are unpublished official records, and the respondents in all their invitations have never shown to the applicants, any such evidence of presidential consent, after numerous demands made by the applicants that they do so.
“Under the thin guise of exercising their oversight functions, the respondents’ committees probe or conduct of investigations into matters exclusively pertaining to the applicants and agencies under them, that are not in any way remotely connected with the purpose of enabling the respondents make laws, or correct any defect in existing laws, or expose any inefficiency or corruption.
“Some of the invitations to the applicants and agencies under them relate to matters such as recruitment exercises carried out by the applicants, petitions by persons whose fathers’ pension or gratuity are alleged not to have been paid, petitions by persons or companies who lost out in contract biding processes and sometimes to matters as mundane as inviting the officials of the applicants to simply brief the respondents or their committees on the daily activities of the applicants.
“The applicants are therefore forced to spend time, energy, resources and materials appearing before the respondents and their committees, serially, indiscriminately in such a way that they are left with little or no time and energy to perform their statutory functions.
“The respondents are neither skilled nor legally empowered to conduct investigations into alleged criminal matters or alleged fraud or corruption, but have so far serially intimidated, brow-beaten and harassed the applicants under the thin guise of carrying out oversight functions.
“On a regular basis, too numerous to recount, the respondents equally investigate allegations of corrupt practices, fraud and other crimes, as well as issuing resolutions and reports pronouncing guilt on alleged offenders, as if the respondents were courts of law or security agencies, mandated to do so.”
News Express reports that apart from smarting from allegations of corruption (including about unaccounted $20 billion oil revenue by NNPC), Mrs. Alison-Madueke has also presided over the collapse of Nigeria’s refineries, forcing the world’s eight biggest oil producer to rely on imported refined oil at great cost in the form of subsidies. The longest-serving minister in Jonathan’s government, Mrs. Alison-Madueke previously failed as Minister of Works and of Solid Minerals. Only President Jonathan knows why she continues to be in government and cannot be touched.
•Photo shows Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
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