Diezani files fresh application to stop Jet probe

By The Citizen

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has filed a fresh application for an interim injunction to restrain the House of Representatives from going ahead with the probe of the allegation that she spent N10bn on a chartered aircraft.

The fresh application filed on Tuesday through one of her lawyers, Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), followed her apprehension that the House of Representatives would carry out its threat to commence the probe on June 17.

The minister, along with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, currently has two pending suits before the Federal High Court in Abuja, both seeking court order to stop the probe.

The minister's earliest suit was filed before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

In the second suit, which was just assigned to Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the FHC, Abuja, the minister, along with the NNPC, joined the Senate and the House of Representatives as the first and second respondents respectively.

Justice Kolawole has yet to fix date for the mention of suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/346/2014.

Part of her grounds for the fresh application read, 'That unless this honourable court intervenes to maintain the status quo, the respondents may continue in their persistence and relentless invitations to the applicants and agencies under their supervision.

'That the respondents have vowed to investigate the applicants, on the June 17, 2014, notwithstanding that the applicants are, in effect, challenging their powers to so do, and after the applicants had filed this suit.

'That the balance of convenience in this suit is in the applicant's favour as they will suffer irreparable loss which cannot be compensated for in damages. The respondents have nothing to lose by following the due process of law.

'That the applicants undertake to pay damages, where this application is granted, but later found by this honourable court to be frivolous and a waste of the court's time.'

Justice Mohammed had on May 26 rejected a plea by a lawyer, who appears for the minister and the NNPC in the first suit, Mr. Etigwe Uwa (SAN), to restrain the House Committee on Public Accounts from carrying on with the probe pending the hearing of the substantive suit.

But the judge refused the application, following opposition by the House of Representatives' lawyer, Mr. A.B Mahmued and adjourned till June 19 for hearing.