Malabu oil deal: Reps meet today on modalties to invite Jonathan
The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the alleged corruption, malpractices and breach of due process in the award of OPL 245, baring all unforeseen developments will meet today to discuss modalties on how and when former President Goodluck Jonathan will be invited to appear before it.
The committee meeting is scheduled to hold at one of the meeting rooms in the House of Representatives wing of the National Assembly complex by 3pm today.
A member of the committee, who spoke to Daily Sun under condition of anonymity said the committee will have a decision on the matter jointly.
“The committee will meet today to talk on the modalties by which the former president will be invited.
“We will be asking the former president for the full picture on Malabu Oil deal as the actions taken on behalf of the Federal Government were carried out in Nigeria’s name by his appointees.
“It is therefore difficult to accept that the former president is ignorant about the details of the deal”, the source said.
However, Daily Sun learnt that members of the committee elected under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will likely kick against the move, judging by their negative reactions to earlier media reports on plans to invite Jonathan.
Recall that chairman of the committee, Razak Atunwa had in April issued a statement to explain why the former president will be invited.
Atunwa said in the statement that the former president’s testimony will greatly assist in conducting a conclusive investigation on the matter, especially as recent events within and outside the country have linked him to the deal.
The lawmaker had assured that the committee wouldn’t take time in announcing when it will formally invite Jonathan, but today’s meeting will be the first step to making his pledge a reality.
Daily Sun had also reported on Wednesday April 11, that the Committee recommended that Jonathan as the country’s leader at the period when the Federal Government tried to bring an end to the controversy around the sale of OPL 245 , should explain how government arrived at the decision to payout $1.1 billion on the deal.
On the heels of media reports on the intention of the House to invite him for questioning, the former president denied any wrongdoing, adding that contrary to speculation, he did not receive any bribe with regard to deal. Speaking through his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, the ex-president dismissed reports that he received a $200 million bribe from the 1.3 billion payments made by International Oil Companies for access to the highly lucrative oil block.
Others recommended for prosecution by the ad hoc committee include the former Attorney- General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke who allegedly drafted the agreement and also argued that the payment was in the interest of the Nigerian people, one Mr. Abubakar Alleel who was said to have acted as a conduit through which the money was disbursed; SHELL/ ENI/NAE for their role in the fraud particularly as they were already facing investigations on the issue abroad, and Olusegun Aganga former Finance Minister was also recommended for trial.
The recommendation that Alison Madueke be tried was based on the ground, that the transfer of the said funds was approved through an escrow account allegedly opened by herself and former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Muhammed Adoke through two Nigerian banks ( names withheld)
But Adoke has denied any wrongdoing, saying the transaction was approved by former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
The former AGF said he only implemented presidential instructions in a March 6 letter written to his successor, Abubakar Malami (SAN)
President Obasanjo in his response warned Adoke to desist from linking him to the controversial deal as he would not participate in any corrupt act.
Atunwa’s statement read in part: “The Committee is aware of recent information that have come to light, both nationally and internationally, indicating that former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan may have been complicit in the controversial OPL 245 deal.
“The Committee is also closely monitoring the proceedings in the Italian Courts instituted by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in which Ministers in Jonathan Administration were mentioned including President Jonathan himself.
“These facts have firmly placed former President Goodluck Jonathan on the Committee’s radar.
“The Committee believes that former President Goodluck Jonathan may well be in a position to assist it with its inquiries. Accordingly, the Committee is considering inviting him to give evidence before it. An announcement will be made once a formal firm decision is taken on the matter.
“The Committee intends to be meticulous, thorough and comprehensive in its inquiry so as to bring about finality to this seemingly intractable matter”.