By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA-HOUSE of Representatives yesterday through its Spokesman, Zakari Mohammed said the House was still studying an order restraining them from continuing the probe of an alleged N10billion jet charter services scam by Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke.
Mohammed while briefing journalists alongside Public Accounts Committee Chairman, Adeola Olamilekan said, “we are still studying the order to know the next line of action to take on the issue”.
“Today the office of the Speaker was sent an order restraining us from continuing with the probe slated for today, Monday”.
“Nigerians should also know that one of the primary responsibilities of lawmakers is to fight corruption and we are not deterred about this”.
Also the House went back on its words that members of its committee on public accounts presently investigating the minister of petroleum resources, Allison-Madueke were under threat to back down on its investigation.
Olamilekan who reacted on whether members of his committee were under pressure said,”there was no time we were under any pressure to do anything”.
It would be recalled that the media was awash two weeks ago that there were threats from the petroleum ministry on members of the committee looking into the matter.
Yesterday’s volte face by both Zakari and Olamilekan therefore rubbished the reports which sources said was sponsored by the Committee in the first place.
“We had a resolution of the House and referred this matter to the Public Accounts Committee. At no point or time has the leadership of the House expressed fears that they were under any pressure.
” This is not the first time we are going into this kind of process. It is usual when you are dealing with the high and mighty for people to presume that you will hit a brick wall, but we are very, very consistent.
“The only way you can stop us is through a process like the court case that we have expressed to you which we consider as a temporary setback. We will seek legal opinion and the House will be advised appropriately.
” This setback is painful though but we have to obey the laws of the land. There is nobody that is under pressure, all that was written was based on speculation, mind you, you were doing your job. For the court order, we do not know what will happen we are watching” Zakari said.
On his part the PAC chairman, Olamilekan disclosed “I have not been under any pressure. I am as okay and ready to go and really prepared to deal with this”
Zakari in expressing frustrations at the turn of event noted; “The paper we received is to tell us that they have proceeded to court, that the matter we want to investigate on; we have gone to court. If we decide to continue on the matter after the court paper, it becomes subjudice and contempt of court.
” It is programmed, it could have come last week but it came same day, today, Monday, when they were supposed to appear before the committee investigating the matter. This parliament is a creation of law and we cannot be seen to be flouting the law”
It would be recalled that the Public Accounts Committee of the House is investigating expenditure of the minister that she spent N10bn to charter a jet,
Challenger 850 for her trips these past two years.
The PAC had two weeks ago directed the minister to appear before it yesterday, April 28 before the court papers put paid to it all yesterday.