The Chairman of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil worth over $2.4 billion, and crude oil export to China from 2014 till date, has accused the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, of paying $200 million as consultancy fees in whistleblower recoveries.
The chairman, Mark Gbillah, made this accusation at a public hearing on the matter. According to Gbillah, Malami and the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, have not been cooperating with the committee, despite several letters of invitation sent to them. Gbillah expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the two public officers and appealed to them to appear before the committee or risk being arrested.
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The committee had seen documentation from the Accountant General’s office, where the minister of finance approved the payment of a substantial amount of money to whistleblowers, but no details of the monies recovered were provided.
The Constitution clearly stipulates the receipt and expenditure of Nigeria’s money, and the parliament has not seen that those monies were routed through the constitutional appropriation process before they were expended. The Attorney General’s office does not have any statutory powers provided by the Constitution to determine how Nigeria’s money should be spent.
Gbillah alleged that the Attorney General’s office approved the payment of $200 million to two companies, Biz Plus and GSCL, allegedly for consultancy services, which were approved by the AGF on the approval of the President.
The committee requires the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of the Federation to appear before the House to provide clarity on the inflows that have come in from whistleblowers’ recoveries and how these monies were recovered. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is also required to provide information that has been provided by whistleblowers about substantial amounts of money paid allegedly for consultancy services when there is no record of any agreement entered into by those companies regarding any services.
Gbillah made a formal and final notice to the Minister of Finance and Attorney General of the Federation and all others who have not responded or who have not honoured the committee’s invitations to do so in the national interest.
He stated that if they fail to do so, the committee would be constrained to invoke the instrument of summons and all other necessary powers that the National Assembly can exercise.
However, he emphasized that the committee seeks to accord those who have been mentioned in these allegations a fair hearing and the benefit of the doubt.