House Moves Against Petroleum Minister Over N10bn Private Jet Maintenance


Probes NLNG Over Unremitted Revenue BEVERLY HILLS, CA, March 21, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Thursday resolved to investigate the alleged financial recklessness by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, totalling N10 billion on the arbitrary charter and maintenance of a Challenger 850 aircraft for non-official use.

The lower chamber consequently mandated its committee on Public Accounts to carry out the exercise and report back within three weeks.

This decision was taken after the adoption of a motion by Hon.

Samuel Babatunde Adejare (APC, Lagos).
Presenting the motion, the sponsor argued that reliable evidence available to him indicate that Mrs Alison-Madueke allegedly sunk the sum of N3.

120 billion into the maintenance of a private jet dedicated to the service of herself and her family.

He said a breakdown of the money allegedly wasted by the minister indicates that the sum of 500,000 Euros (N130 million) was spent every month on the maintenance of the jet.

According to him, recently Nigerians experience acute fuel shortage due to "dwindling national revenue which has reduced the quality of governance and deprived the people of dividends of democracy.

" The lawmaker said it is not unaware that part of the money for the maintenance is spent on payments of allowances to the plane's crew, hangar parking and rent based on a lease agreement.

He expressed concern that "an official of government could be bankrolling this waste in the face of ever dwindling public resources which amounts to a misplacement of priority, impudence and breach of public trust.

" He argued that the minister's action contravenes the Fiscal Responsibility Act "and all other laws on fiscal discipline.

" Adejare cited section 82 (2) (b) of the 1999 constitution "which empowers the National Assembly to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.

"In a related development, the House said it is convinced that the funds accruing to the NLNG Bonny have not been remitted to the Federation Account from 2004 to date, hence affecting "all critical sectors of the Nigerian economy.

" Hon.
Aminu Suleiman (APC,Kano) who moved the motion said this constitutes an econmic crime as Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended makes it mandatory for all " revenue" collected by the Government of the federation to be remitted into the Federation Account.

" He cited section 162 Sub section 10 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, which defines revenue as "any income or return accruing to or derived by the government of the federation.

" Suleiman noted that the NLNG Bonny, in flagrant disobedience and breach of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution has not remitted funds accruing to it to the Federation Account from 2004 till date.

He said this development has adversely affected the Federation Account to the detriment of Federal, States and Local Governments.