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Reps Give Diezani One Week To Reply Query Over Chartered Private Jets

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, VistaJet International, Evergreen Aviation Terminal, operators of private Jets and the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, FAAN have been written by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts.

The letters dated March 26 and signed by the Chairman of the committee, Samuel Adeola, signifies the heightened preparations for the probe of the chartered private jets which is said to be costing the country billions of Naira.

The Minister is expected to tender a written submission within one week of “all she knows about the transactions, and if as a Minister she is entitled to such chartered private jets for private use, and whether or not she has not breached public service rules, as well as who is responsible for the bills.”

Other necessary information that would aid the Committee in the investigation is also to be forwarded by the Minister.

On its part, the GMD NNPC is to forward in written form to the lawmakers “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,” a source close to the committee said.

The Committee is requesting from the private jets operators “the contract agreements between them and the NNPC from 2011 till date, all the flight schedules, the passengers’ manifests from 2011 till date and the amount of money paid to them during the period under review,” the source added.

The probe into the controversial operation of chartered private jets for private use for local and foreign trips by Mrs Diezeani Alison-Madueke was sequel to a motion brought before the House on the matter by a member, Samuel Adejare (APC, Lagos).

One of the aspects that the Reps Committee is interested in getting answers to is why there was no valid contract agreement between the NNPC/Petroleum Resources Ministry and the Private Jets operators for the lease of the 850 challenger Aircraft which was allegedly extensively used by the Minister.

The tendering of memoranda by stakeholders would be followed by the adoption of a date for the public hearing on the matter, in line with the resolution of the House, it was learnt on Wednesday.

Several new flight schedules operated on foreign trips by the Minister between 2012 and 2013 has also been uncovered by the Public Accounts committee.

The new discovery, involving Global Express XRS with tail number S5-GMG and tail number OE-LGX,OE-LSS and OE-INA allegedly cost $300,000 (about N50m) per trip, way above an estimated cost of N7.5million for the same trip.

A December 21, 2012 trip from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja to the United Kingdom with the Global Express XRS with the tail number: OE-LGX gulped N57.5million as against an estimated N6million, it was also alleged.

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