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 according to a Vanguard report.
This decision was reached after a resolution of the House which mandated the committee to investigate the alleged charter of an aircraft for a whooping N10billion in two years.
It was also gathered that the House Committee on Public Accounts through a letter dated March 26, 2014 and personally signed by its Chairman, Rep Solomon Adeola Olamilekan informed the Minister and other interested parties 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.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), Mr Andrew Yakubu, the Evergreen Aviation Terminal, and Vista Jet International, the operators of the private Jets as well as the Authorities of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) are some of the interested parties that the committee wrote to during the course of their investigations.
A close source to PAC said that the minister, Diezeani Alison-Madueke, 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.
It was also 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.
A copy of the new manifest made available to the Vanguard on Wednesday, revealed that, like the previous passengers’ manifests, the name of the Ministers and those of Prince Haruna Omoye and Abubakar Fari Ahmed featured frequently on them.
In the new discovery, it was alleged that one single trip gulped the sum of $300,000 (equivalent of N50m), the same journey could have cost only N7.5million. 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 gulped N57.5million as against the normal N6million if it were not a chartered flight.
It was also gathered that the Committee had also discovered that there had never been a valid contractual agreement put in place for most of the money paid to the Private Jet operators, running into billions of Naira, for the lease of their 850 challenger Aircraft for the Minister’s use.