2 June 2014

Nigeria: Diezani's Chartered Jet Probe Not a Witch-Hunt - Reps

The House of Representatives has insisted that its probe of the petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke over an alleged N10billion spent to charter private jets is not a "witch-hunt".

House deputy spokesman, Victor Ogene stated this during a media briefing at the weekend.

The House had earlier stated that the probe of the minister was "not selective and targetted", but a constitutional duty provided for in Section 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Ogene said: "It is not a witch-hunt. When the seventh House was inaugurated, I don't think they had any minister in mind. Investigation and oversight are constitutional duties. We are not prosecuting the minister."

He added: "We turn over our reports to the same executive branch for implementation."

On the petroleum minister's insistence on a presidential clearance before honouring the House summon, Ogene stated that the minister's refusal to appear before the House would not jeopardise the work of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) detailed to investigate the matter.

"A probe does not begin and end with the physical appearance of the person under investigation. Section 89 (a) says it is not until somebody appears in the process of any investigation. So, the mandate of the committee has not been withdrawn.

"The House has power to investigate any public officer, under whose office the House has appropriated money. Therefore, the House will not shirk its responsibilities at any time," he said.

Alison-Madueke has refused to appear before the committee detailed to carry out the investigation, launching a legal suit instead to stop the probe.

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