December 13, 2013

$1.092bn Malabu oil deal: You are not cleared, Reps tell AGF

By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA – THE House of Representatives has asked the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, to immediately correct the wrong impression that he has been given a clean bill of health over the controversial $1.092 billion Malabu Oil deal.

In a report, the House has not cleared the Minister yet contrary to the impression given as the main report of the Rep Leo Ogor- led ad hoc committee probing the oil deal was yet to be considered on the floor of the House.

This recommendation was in a report submitted by the Rep Ali Ahmad, PDP, Kwara headed House Committee on Justice which was considered and adopted yesterday on the floor of the House.

The House had complained that paragraph 6 of a letter written by the Minister dated Monday, 20th May,2013 and to a foreign NGO “gives the impression that the House of Representatives is one of those authorities that approved the deal involving OPL 245.”

The single recommendation of the report submitted by the Committee on Justice which was mandated to investigate the letter by the Minister states:

” Based on our findings and observations, and without prejudice to the report of the ad hoc committee on the Malabu Oil and Gas Company Limited and other pending report of the House in the issue, we recommend that the Attorney- General be directed to make appropriate correction in paragraph 6 of the letter in question in line with paragraph ( vi) of our findings and observations, and communicate same to those concerned for record purposes.”

The committee in paragraph ( vi) of its findings and observations stated that the Minister issued the letter in good faith and in the best of his professional ability and capacity.

” And by so doing, we believe that he did not intend to breach the privilege of the House or any of its members, nor was the letter intended to preempt the resolution of the House on the report of its ad hoc committee in OPL 245.

It was also noted in the report that the Minister of Justice in response to a letter written by the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala on the issue, ” wrote back to Simon Taylor of a global Witness, United Kingdom (copying Minister of Finance, Minister of State Federal Ministry of Finance, Nicholas Hilyard, the Corner House, and Lucas Manes, Re: Common) wherein amongst others, the Attorney General made the statement that the House: “Had instituted a probe into the transaction and at the end, they were satisfied that there was no infraction of the Constitution or any other Nigerian law.”

Vanguard recalls that the Malabo Oil deal involving a former Minister of Petroleum, family of former Military head of state, Late General Sani Abacha had generated a lot of controversies in the manner the deal was sealed.