ABUJA â€“ MEMBERS of the House of Representatives, Thursday, mandated the Public Accounts Committee, PAC to probe an alleged reckless spending of N3.120billion in two years by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deziani Allison-Madueke for air charter services.
The House in session also directed the committee to conclude the investigative hearing within two weeks and report back.
This move was initiated by Rep Adejare Samuel, APC, Agege Federal Constituency, Lagos in a motion entitled:â€™Urgent Need to Investigate the Waste of Resources on the Arbitrary Charter and Maintenance of a Challenger 850 Aircraft for Non-Official Useâ€™.
Adejare had in his submission argued that the minister allegedly frittered away over N10bn in the maintenance of the Challenger 850 Aircraft and its crew in the last 2 years.
He noted thatâ€ in these days of scarce National Resources where public finance is shrinking in the face of ever increasing national needs such as roads, health, education and power, amongst others an official of government could waste public funds on such luxury as chartering a Challenger 850 Aircraft for extra official use.
Stressing further Adejare said that â€œin recent times, most States of the Federation have been facing acute shortage of allocations due to the dwindling National Revenue which has reduced the quality of governance and deprived the people of dividends of democracyâ€.
He said to the House that his submission on the issue â€œis based on reliable evidence, the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke has been committing the sum of 500,000 Euros (N130 Million Naira) monthly to maintain the Aircraft, thus in two (2) years, the Minister had committed at least N3.120 billion in maintaining the Private Jet which is used solely for her personal needs and those of her immediate family, which is an appalling actâ€.
He also explained that â€œthere are strong indications that the above expenditure is only a tip of the iceberg as several other billions of Naira have been allegedly wasted on flying the jet all over the world obviously for the leisure of the Hon. Minister and her immediate family on trips that were of no benefit to the country.
â€ This colossal waste is currently estimated at N10 billion which include the payment of allowances to the crew for the trips, hanger parking and rent based on the lease agreement.
â€œIf government could be bankrolling this waste in the face of ever dwindling public resources which amounts to a misplacement of priority, impudence and breach of public trust, an action that offends the Fiscal Responsibility Act and all other Laws on fiscal discipline in Nigeria.
He explained that an investigation into the matter revealed that the Hon. Minister is financing the lease of the Aircraft with public funds.
At this stage, Rep Friday Itulah, PDP, Edo rose to oppose the motion, but the presiding officer, Aminu Tambuwal quickly intervened asking Itulah to stay action until he calls for a debate to oppose the motion.
He however explained to the House that the House rule does not create room for motions of this nature to be debated, adding that â€œwe will put it to a voice vote and refer it to the relevant committee for further legislative actionâ€.
â€œAnd I was made to understand that PAC had been on this issue before nowâ€.
The speaker after explaining did put it to a voice vote and APC members once again overwhelmed PDP lawmakers as the â€˜ays swallowed the â€˜naysâ€™.