N10bn Private Jet Probe: Petroleum Minister, NNPC File Fresh Application

Source: thewillnigeria.com

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, July 03, (THEWILL) - As Nigerians await the commencement of the House of Representatives' probe of the alleged N10billion allegedly spent by Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, on the charter of private jets, a fresh application filed by the Minister and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has stalled hearing in the suit.

On June 19, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja adjourned hearing in the matter to Thursday for hearing of the substantive suit after ordering parties in the suit to maintain the status quo.

When the case came up for hearing on Thursday at the court, it was however stalled owing due to the application by the plaintiffs seeking to amend their originating summons.

The plaintiffs seek to add two additional prayers, to include a declaration that the National Assembly and House of Representatives (defendants in the suit) cannot investigate petitions against them and that they cannot on-sight investigation into the plaintiff's activities.

Although the National Assembly, represented by Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), did not object to the amendment sought by the plaintiffs, the House of Reprentatives, represented by Abubakar Mahmud (SAN), opposed the application to amend the originating process.

Counsel to the plaintiffs, Etigwe Uwa (SAN), was however not comfortable with the House objection to his plan to amend the application.

He argued that the objection was against parties' earlier agreement to proceed with the substantive suit.

He however sought time to enable him respond to the objection filed by the House against his application to amend.

Mahmud, argued that, as against Uwa's position, it was the plaintiffs who had acted against parties' agreement to proceed with the substantive suit by coming with an amendment midway into the case.

He contended that the amendment sought by the plaintiffs was an attempt to broaden the scope of the suit beyond what existed before, arguing that the amendment was unnecessary.

However, while ruling on the application, Justice Mohammed held that there was nothing unusual in the objection raised by the House against the fresh application to amend, saying that since the plaintiffs had chosen to amend their originating process, the House was entitled to either object or support such decision.

He therefore adjourned to July 9 for hearing of the plaintiffs' application to amend the originating summons.

He was however silent on the status of the order on Thursday as none of the lawyers in the case also spoke about the order.