House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating the sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil amounting to over $2.4 billion and crude oil export to China from 2014 to date has said that it has uncovered payment of $200 million allegedly made as consultancy fees in whistleblower recoveries by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami within statutory approvals.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Mark Gbillah who made the disclosure at the resumed public hearing also said that Malami and the minister of finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed have not been cooperating with the committee in terms of appearing to answer to issues arising from the crude sales despite letters of invitation sent to them.
He said: “We have not been getting any form of cooperation from the Ministry of Finance and Attorney General’s office regarding this investigation despite a series of correspondents sent to them on this matter that we are investigating. We’ve seen documentation from the Accountant General’s office, where the minister of finance approved the payment of a substantially significant amount of money to so-called whistle-blowers where details of monies recovered were not provided.
We’ve heard media reports by the federal government indicating that millions of dollars were recovered through whistle-blower revelations on behalf of the country. But we as a parliament have not seen where those monies were routed through the constitutional appropriation process before they were expended. The constitution is very clear about the receipt and expenditure of Nigeria’s money”.
Gbillah who expressed his displeasure with the actions of the two public officials however appealed to them to cause an appearance before to committee or risked an arrest.
“We’ve looked at the functions of the Attorney General’s office and we’ve not seen any statutory powers provided for the Attorney General by the constitution to determine how Nigeria’s money should be spent.
“There was an incident about a whistleblower who made a formal report to Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) about $200m paid into two companies accounts Biz Plus, and GSCL allegedly for consultancy services, which allegedly were approved, they said by the Attorney General’s office on the approval of Mr President.
“We need the Honourable Minister of Finance, and the Attorney General of the Federation to appear before this House to provide clarity on the inflows that have come in from whistleblowers’ recoveries, and about these monies that were recovered, and the CBN is required to provide information that has been provided by these whistleblowers about substantial amounts of monies that were paid supposedly and allegedly for consultancy services when there’s no record of any agreement entered into by those companies regarding any services.
“These are very weighty allegations and as a responsible House, we owe everybody fair hearing and a benefit of doubt, and this is what we’ve been seeking to accord those who have been mentioned in these allegations. But we find it un-actionable that the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of Federation have not bothered to respond to any of the correspondence from the committee and this in our opinion shows a lack of regard not only to the Institution of House, but that of the National Assembly as a whole.
“We will make this further appeal to the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of the Federation and all others who have not responded or who have not honoured the Committee’s invitations to do so in the national interest, and in the event that they fail to do so, we will be constrained to invoke the instrument of the summons and all other necessary powers the National Assembly can exercise in this regard.
“But we want to make this a formal and final notice to those concerned, the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of the Federation to cause appearance before the committee to give evidence with regard to the allegations that have been laid with regard to the questions the committee has requested for them to answer and to respond to,” the chairman said.