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Reps invite ex-President Jonathan over $1bn Malabu oil scam



By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel, Abuja 

The House of Representatives’ Ad-hoc Committee probing the alleged corruption, malpractices and breach of due process in the award of Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 has resolved to invite former president Goodluck Jonathan over diversion of $1 billion.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Rasak Atunwa, revealed this yesterday at a press briefing on the progress of the investigation as well as subsequent steps to be taken which according to him, will be determined by the former president’s appearance before the ad hoc committee.

Atunwa informed that the committee in its meeting, Wednesday morning, “noted that it had conducted extensive investigation into the OPL 245 saga and that it is drawing to a close.

He added that the committee is however, of the view that in the interest of thoroughness, natural justice and fair play, it imperative that evidence should be taken from former President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to him, “In arriving at this decision, the committee took account of the following facts: Mr Jonathan was the President at the material time the ministers brokered the so-called resolution agreement that led to the allegation of $1 billion diversion of funds.

“Mr Jonathan’s name features in the proceedings initiated by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in Italy.

“A UK Court judgement in relation to an application to return part of the money being restrained, castigated the Jonathan administration as not having acted in the best interest of Nigeria in relation to the deal.

“The Attorney-General of the Federation at the material time, Mohammed Bello Adoke, who of course has been charged in relation to the case by the EFCC, has recently instituted proceedings in court wherein he pleads that all his actions were as instructed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Accordingly, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the committee has decided to request that former President Goodluck Jonathan give evidence to the committee, as to his role in the matter. The secretariat will write to him asking for his response and submissions,” Atunwa stated.

Responding to whether there was an option for the ex-president to make written submission, the lawmaker observed that the former president is at liberty to make a written or oral submission to the committee.

“That is a cause that is open to him. The important thing is that the committee has decided that he must give evidence. He may desire to send us a written submission, and we consider every written submission. We take it one step at a time.

“Section 89 of the constitution requires that we ask for the evidence; we’ve asked him for evidence and he must give evidence, we have asked him to give his response and submission.

“The normal proceeding for a committee hearing investigating such matter is to take a written submission. Let’s follow the procedure the way we’ve been operating. Let’s get this response first and then we take it from there”, he said.



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