THERE is the possibility that the leadership of the House of Representatives may soon clash with the House Committee on Public Accounts probing the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke for allegedly spending the sum of N10 billion on chattered jets..
Indications to this effect emerged last week when conflicting signals from the leadership of the House nearly stalled the probe.
The House committee had summoned officials of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited (PPMC) over the probe but was forced to delay the hearing as a result of signals from the Speaker’s office.
The speaker had initially told the committee to allow him get legal advice on the suit filed by the minister on the probe.
When the committee members thought that the coast was clear to hear from stakeholders, including the PPMC, it attempted to sit last week but had the sitting aborted.
Sources told the Sunday Tribune that the committee became divided as a result of conflicting signals from the speaker’s office.
“While the members were ready to go ahead, we were told that the speaker was yet to secure the legal advice. We believe that since there is no injunction against the House, the Committee’s work should not be hampered,” a member said at the weekend.
But the deputy spokesman of the House, Hon. Victor Ogene, told the Sunday Tribune on Saturday that the probe would not be aborted.
He dismissed the speculation doing the rounds that the Speaker, Honourable Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, ordered a half to the House Committee on Public Accounts Committee mandated to probe the alleged N10 billion spent on hired of private jets by the petroleum resources minister.
Speaking with the Sunday Tribune, Honourable Ogene said that,” the Speaker was not the one that ordered the public hearing on the matter and as such he cannot and will not stop the public hearing.”
According to Hon Ogene, “the decision to conduct the public hearing on the matter was taken unanimously on the floor of the House and if there is the need to discontinue with the probe the matter has to come up again on the floor of the House. That is our stand; the probe is in progress.”
Hon Ogene, who also dismissed on the allegation that there was a meeting on the matter last week Thursday where it was agreed that the House should discontinue with the probe, said,” it was not true. There was no meeting of such. What the speaker said was that he would seek legal advice on the matter for the House to take a stand on the matter. That is our position till now.”