03 April 2014, Abuja – The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts is now set for the full scale probe into the controversial operation of chartered private jets for private use for local and foreign trips by the Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezeani Alison-Madueke.
This was sequel to a resolution of the House which mandated the committee to investigate alleged chartering of an aircraft for a whopping N10 billion in two years.
It was also gathered that the House Committee on Public Accounts through a letter dated March 26,this year and personally signed by its Chairman, Rep Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, informed the Minister and other stakeholders of the House’s decision to probe the chartered private jets deal following a motion of urgent national importance moved by Rep Samuel Adejare to that effect.
Stakeholders who the Committee also wrote to formally appear are the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr Andrew Yakubu, the Evergreen Aviation Terminal, and VistaJet International, the operators of the private jets as well as the authorities of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.
A close source to PAC said the Minister in particular is to submit a written presentation to the Committee within one week which includes the following: “all she knew about the transactions, whether or not as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria she is entitled to such chartered private jets for private use, whether or not she has not breached public service rules, who is responsible for the bills” and other necessary information that would assist the Committee in getting to the root of the matter.
He hinted that the GMD NNPC would also submit to the Committee in writing within one week all information relating to the deal from 2011 till date, the level of involvement of the Corporation, the contractual agreement between the Corporation and the operators of the private jets and its financial commitment to it since 2011 till date, among others.
It was also revealed that the private jet operators would also provide the committee the contracts agreements between them and the NNPC from 2011 till date, all the flight schedules, the passengers’ manifests from the 2011 till date and the amount of money paid to them during the period under review.
It was also gathered that after the submission of the memorandum by the characters involved in the deal, the Committee would then fix a date for the public hearing on the matter as ordered by the House.
This is coming just as the Committee has uncovered several new flight schedules operated on foreign trips by the Minister between 2012 and 2013 using the GLOBAL EXPRESS XRS—TAIL NO: S5-GMG and TAIL NO: OE-LGX,OE-LSS and OE-INA respectively.
According to the new passengers’ manifest, like the previous passengers’ manifests, the name of the Ministers and those of Prince Haruna Momoh and Abubakar Fari Ahmed featured frequently on the trips.
In the new discovery, it was alleged that one trips gulped the sum of $300,000 (equivalent of N50 million), the same journey that would have cost about N7.5 million while on another trip which took place on December 21st, 2012 from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to MASTSON Airport in the United Kingdom with the GLOBAL EXPRESS XRS with the tail number: OE-LGX gulped N57.5 million as against the normal N6 million if it were not to be a chartered flight.
It was gathered that the Committee had also discovered that there had never been a valid contractual agreement put in place for most of the billions of naira paid to the private jet operators for the lease of their 850 challenger Aircraft for the minister’s use but which frantic efforts were now reportedly being made to perfect since the matter became public knowledge.
Attempts to reach Chairman of the Committee, Rep Olamilekan, proved abortive.