Reps Begin Probe Of Alleged N10bn Jet Scam

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday, mandated the Public Accounts Committee to commence an investigative hearing on the alleged N10 billion air charter services scam involving the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Apparently angered by reports that the House had jettisoned the probe, the Speaker directed members of the committee to commence hearing on the issue.

Tambuwal gave the directive barely five minutes after plenary resumed yesterday.

The directive was greeted with about three minutes of silence before other matters were tabled before the House.

The House had in March 27 plenary mandated the accounts committee to commence an investigative hearing into the scam.

The probe, which was slated for April 28, was botched as the Minister of Petroleum Resources had gone to court on that same date.

For fear of violating the laws, the lawmakers retraced their steps, promising to seek legal opinion on the issue.

Then the reflection of most lawmakers was that there was an order restraining the House from probing Alison-Madueke.

However, an Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed doused the fear, saying he did not grant any order restraining the House from probing the alleged jets charter by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Also reacting on the incident on the floor of the House, Tambuwal had insisted that whether the court stopped them from probing the alleged corruption or not, the House would study the court orders and seek legal advice on the matter before further probe.

Some lawmakers had raised a point of order that the House had the constitutional responsibility to investigate the allegation that the minister spent N10 billion on a chartered private jet, Challenger 850, in the last two years.

Tambuwal, however, explained that the House would seek the opinion of a lawyer if the court had the powers to stall its investigation of the alleged scandal. [Vanguard]