12 October 2012

Nigeria: Reps Probe N140 Billion Otedola/Amcon Deal

Photo: Daily Trust
Femi Otedola.

The House of Representatives yesterday detailed an eight-member ad hoc panel led by its Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos/ACN) to probe the payment of N140.9billion in debts by oil mogul, Femi Otedola, to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

Federal lawmakers insist that the transaction was done in "confidentiality and secrecy."

The members of the panel include Sani Kalgo, Pally Iriase, Uzor Azubuike, Evelyn Ojakabor, Idris Wase, Jerry Manwe and Muraina Ajibola.

At yesterday's plenary, Abimbola Daramola (Ekiti/ACN) came under matters of urgent national importance when he raised a motion seeking the Lower House to set up a committee to conduct a full investigation into the transaction.

Zenon Petroleum, and Gas Limited and Forte Oil Plc, both owned by Otedola, recently paid outstanding debts of N140, 999, 620, 395.80 owed AMCON in contentious circumstances.

The panel was instructed by the House Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to report its findings to the House within one month.

Daramola stated that the AMCON Act stipulated that the operations of the corporation must be made transparent, published in available media and presented to the National Assembly, Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a provision federal lawmakers insist was not followed in the N140.9 billion deal.

"If the full extent and spectrum of the transaction is not looked at, it may be a harbinger of a catastrophic disaster worse than the near collapse witnessed in the Stock Market where many Nigerians not only lost their life investments but lives," Daramola stated in his lead debate.

A previous statement by the Lower House spokesman, Zakari Mohammed on the deal stated, "It is curious that AMCON, being a government establishment which is under the purview of the National Assembly, could do that without the knowledge of the House."

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