By Lawrence Olaoye
Despite the purported court order seeking to restrain the House of Representatives from carrying out the probe of the alleged N10 billion spent on chartered jets by the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the House has initiated a fresh move to actualize its determination to conduct investigation into the matter.
To this extent, the House Committee on Public Accounts mandated to conduct the probe yesterday served a fresh summon on the Managing Director of the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Haruna Momoh, to appear before or face criminal charges.
The fresh invitation was contained in a memo dated April 30th this year, was signed by the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Honourable Solomon Adeola Olamilekan and addressed to the Managing Director of the PPMC.
According to the memo obtained by newsmen, both the PPMC and its MD have within one week to submit, in a written form, all that they knew about the charter of the 850 Challenger Aircraft.
The Committee in the memo said that the action to summon them was “based on the response from Vistaget international limited, one of the Companies involved in the transactions.
“It was observed that you and PPMC played a central role in the charter of the 850 challenger Aircraft; you are therefore requested to submit a memorandum on your involvement and that of the PPMC in the said transaction,” the memo stated.
The memorandum, according to the Committee, shall include but not limited to the following:
“Details of the financial transaction on the amount paid by NNPC/PPMC to Vistajel international Ltd for the Charter and maintenance of the 850 Challenger Aircrafts and other related Aircrafts such as the OE-LXR GLOBAL EXPRESS XRS from January 2012 till date.
“Details of any financial liabilities that may be currently outstanding on the Charter and maintenance of the 850 Challenger Aircraft and other related Aircrafts used by the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Allison-Madueke for both national and international trips”.
“Copies of the agreement (if any) between NNPC/PPMC and Vistajet International Ltd over the Charter and maintenance of the 850 Challenger Aircrafts 0E-LXR GLOBAL EXPRESS XRS and other related aircrafts by the Minister”.
“The manifest in the custody of the Committee revealed that you have always been in the Company of the Minister while on international trips on board the said aircraft, you are therefore required to furnish details and particulars of trips (with the Minister) embarked upon by yourself with the Minister and the justification for such tips”.
The Committee pointed out that failure of the PPMC and its MD to submit the memorandum as required would be considered as a criminal offence and would be treated as such.
It said that apart from the submission of the memorandum, the PPMC and its MD would also appeared before the House Committee on public Accounts for a public hearing on a date to be communicated to them in due course.
Though the Chairman of the Committee could not be immediately reached for comments on the fresh invitation, a member of the Committee confirmed the development in confidence to newsmen in Abuja insisting that the House was resolved to get to the root of the matter.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources had instituted a suit against the House at an Abuja Federal High Court over her invitation to appear before the Committee on the matter but it had to stand down the probe which was earlier slated for April 28 having been served with the Court process.
Although the court has clarified that it never issued any ruling to stop the House from probing the Minister in the chartered jets issue, the House had maintained that it would study the ruling to ascertain its next line of action.
The latest summon of the PPMC and its Managing Director could be regarded as the aftermath of the House resolve to study the ruling with a view to acting appropriately.