03 March 2016, Abuja – Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Wednesday failed to appear before the ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating the crude oil swap contracts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The former minister neither appeared in person nor sent any representations to the hearing of the committee, chaired by an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kwara State, Mr. Zakari Mohammed.
The committee had summoned Alison-Madueke and a former Managing Director of the Pipelines Product Marketing Company, PPMC, Mr. Haruna Momoh, in connection with the lifting of crude oil worth $24billion in exchange for refined petroleum products.
Two crude trading firms, Duke Oil and Trafigura had lifted the crude between 2011 and 2014 without valid contracts.
The summons were issued after three former Group Managing Directors of the NNPC, Mr. Austin Oniwon, Mr. Andrew Yakubu and Mr. Joseph Dawha, had informed the committee that Alison-Madueke “approved” the contracts without signing any valid agreements with the firms.
But, on Wednesday, the former minister shunned the committee.
Momoh too did not come. Instead, he sent his younger brother, Mr. Suleiman Momoh, to inform the committee that he was ill and would not be able to appear for the hearing.
Mohammed was left bewildered when he called for appearances and realised that Alison-Madueke was absent.
He said the committee would take the “appropriate steps” to address the absence of the former minister, but he did not elaborate on the nature of the steps.
Mohammed stated, “Anybody who knows the former minister and Momoh should tell them that they are daring the parliament and we will take the appropriate measures against them.”
However, Momoh’s younger brother, Suleiman, rose to register an excuse that his elder brother was ill.
“He is ill and he will not be able to attend this session of the committee “, Suleiman added.
The committee overruled Suleiman and directed him to take the message back to Momoh that he must appear before the panel.