The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been given up till April 28 to respond to enquiries on the N10bn she allegedly spent on chartering a private jet, Challenger 850, for her trips in the last two years. Findings showed that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, which gave the deadline, would also open a public hearing on the allegation on April 28.
“The committee will proceed with the public hearing, whether or not, the minister responds to our enquiries. “She has been given adequate respect as a minister and public officer by the committee. “Our letters were sent to the minister as far back as March 26,” a source close to the committee said. It was learnt that the committee gave the deadline just as the original period given to it to produce a report on the probe expired on April 9. The House had passed the resolution on the investigation on March 10. It gave the committee, which is headed by Mr. Solomon Olamilekan, three weeks to conclude the assignment and produce a report.
However, findings indicated that a combination of factors, including Diezani’s alleged refusal to respond to enquiries and pressures mounted on the committee to soft pedal on the matter, had delayed the committee’s work. The delay was said to have dove-tailed into the start of a three-week Easter break, which the House began on Thursday, April 10. Another committee source claimed the “delay and all the shenanigans” would not deter the committee from proceeding with the public hearing.