By Nwafor Sunday
Former president of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, may be invited by the House of Representatives ad-hoc panel, probing the contract of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245, said Razak Atunwa, the chairman of the committee.
The invitation, according to the House of Reps ad-hoc committee chairman, Mr. Razak Atunwa, was for the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, to assist in the ongoing Malabu oil deal investigation.
Atunwa, in a statement on Wednesday, said that Jonathan’s contribution in the probe will be necessary and highly appreciated.
Thus the statement reads: “The House of Representatives, by a Resolution taken at Plenary set up and mandated this Committee to, inter alia, conduct a thorough examination of the process and circumstances surrounding OPL 245 and identify culpability of any persons, groups or organizations.
“The committee is aware of recent information that has come to light, both nationally and internationally, indicating that former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan may have been complicit in the controversial OPL 245 deal.
“The committee is also closely monitoring the proceedings in the Italian Courts instituted by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in which Ministers in Jonathan Administration were mentioned including President Jonathan himself.
“These facts have firmly placed former President Goodluck Jonathan on the Committee’s radar. The committee believes that former President Goodluck Jonathan may well be in a position to assist it with its inquiries.
Recall that, Goodluck Jonathan has denied involvement in the Malabu Oil transaction while he was in office.
In a statement made available to newsmen by his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, on January 10 2017, debunked the claims saying the deal even predated his administration.
“Our attention has been drawn to news reports published mostly by online media which suggested through innuendo, rather than factual evidence, that former President Goodluck Jonathan received kickbacks in the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block deal involving oil giants ENI and Royal Dutch Shell.
“With regards to the publication, we wish to make it clear that former President Jonathan was not accused, indicted or charged for corruptly collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes from ENI by the Italian authorities or any other law enforcement body the world over.”
“In the first place, we have to categorically state that the negotiations and transactions for the oil block deal predate the presidency of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan which began on 6th May 2010 and ended on 29th May 2015.”
“It may interest those promoting this false narrative to know that all the documents relating to the transactions, issues and decisions of the federal government on the Malabo issue, during the Jonathan administration, are in the office of the Attorney General of the federation/minister of Justice,” the statement said.