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‘Missing’ 48 million barrels of oil: Malami finally agrees to appear before Reps

April 21, 2023

Mr Malami and his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had repeatedly shunned the public hearing on the missing crude oil……

The Attorney of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has agreed to appear before the House of Representatives committee investigating the “missing” 48 million barrels of crude oil.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mark Gbillah (LP, Benue), on Thursday, announced that Mr Malami, who had ignored previous invitations, will appear before the committee on 27 April, after the public holiday.

He said Mr Malami wrote a letter to the committee that he will cooperate with the panel and provide needed information on the ongoing investigation.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that the committee summoned Mr Malami and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, but the ministers shunned the hearings.

On Wednesday, the committee released ‘evidence” involving the two ministers, particularly the alleged payment of $200 million to some consultants.

Malami must provide comprehensive report 

While acknowledging receipt of the letter, Mr Gbillah said the AGF must provide a comprehensive report to support the work of the committee.

“Today we are in receipt of a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice who is averring his determination to respect the doctrine of separation of powers and to support our extant laws. And he has indicated the fact that they are trying to put together the comprehensive response that we have raised.

“While we appreciate the Attorney General’s response, we would like to indicate that it came a lot later than we expected and it came without the response that we referred to.

“So, we will appreciate it if the Attorney General and Honourable Minister provide this response and also appear before the Committee next Thursday. So, let’s give him the window to appear before the committee,” Mr Gbillah said.

He explained that the finance minister has continued to ignore the summon, but that the committee is still giving her the benefit of doubt.

“Like I already said, we are giving her (Mrs Ahmed) the benefits of the doubt. We are not unmindful of the other powers we have and we are not afraid to exert them and we will do so if the leeway we have provided is still neglected and not recognized by the honourable Minister of Finance,” the lawmaker said.

Background

The House had in December 2022 resolved to probe the alleged missing 48 million barrels of crude oil purportedly sold in China by some Nigerian officials.

The resolution followed a motion moved by Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), who claimed that the allegation was provided by a whistleblower.

Consequently, the House mandated the committee to investigate all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 to date, with regards to quantity, insurance, revenue generated, remittances into the Federation Account or other accounts as well as utilisation of the revenue for the period under review.

In addition, the panel will investigate all proceeds recovered through the Whistle-blower Policy of the federal government and the level of compliance with the policy.

(Premium Times)

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