The House of Representatives on Monday said a Federal High Court order stalled investigation in the alleged N10 billion spent on chattered aircraft by Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources.
The house on March 27, mandated the Public Accounts Committee to investigate Alison-Madueke use of state funds in the last two years to charter, operate and maintain a jet for her personal use.
The Chairman of the committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Zakari Mhammed (APC-Kwara), who addressed newsmen, described the court order as frustrating.
“For us as legislators, our responsibility is to expose corruption but of course, this is another demonstration of part of the frustration we face as an arm of government,’’ he said.
He said that the house as a law abiding institution of government would wait and study the court order before taking any position on the matter.
“As a law abiding arm of government, we will tarry a while and of course take a legal opinion as far as issues are concerned,’’ he said.
According to him, the court order is a clear case of frustrating a matter under investigation.
“We are studying the papers, taking legal opinion and very shortly we will let you know our official position on this matter,’’ he said.
The Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, Rep. Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos), said the committee had received responses from Vistajet International and Executive Jet Hangar involved in the transaction.
He said that the only responses being awaited by the committee was that of the NNPC, NCAA, FAAN and the Minister of Petroleum Resources relating to the investigation.
“Today is April 28, the committee scheduled to receive the honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources and other agencies that have stake in this investigation.
“But as we speak, there is a court order, which has been served to the office of the speaker, even though the committee has not gotten the copy of that order,’’ Adeola said.
“As you are all aware, we are law abiding citizens and a house that has respect for the rule of law, we have decided to hold on until further directive after wider consultation will be done.
“The nature of the court order is simple. They are just restraining us from carrying out our own investigation. I don’t know what they are afraid of that they have gone to court.’’
Adeola expressed surprises that the minister waited until the day of the commencement of the investigation before coming up with a court order.
He said that as the chairman of the committee, he was not under pressure from any quarter to stop the investigation.
It would be recalled that the committee had fixed April 28 for the hearing.