Alison-Madueke: Judge denies stopping Reps probe

Alison-Madueke: Judge denies stopping Reps probe

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:31 pm

Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

There are indications that the court order said to have been obtained by Nigeria’s oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke to stop a probe of her expenses on aircraft charter, may have been forged.

Justice Ramat Mohammed who was said to have issued the order on Tuesday denied making it and indeed asked both Deziani Alison Madueke and members of the Public Accounts Committee in the House of Representatives to produce the order for scrutiny.

Mrs. Diezanni Allison Madueke had approached Justice Ramat’s court seeking the court shield in connection with the committee’s probe of a controversial N10 billion aircraft charter scam involving her.

The embattled minister wanted the court to stop the House from inviting or summoning her to appear before it over the multi billion Naira aircraft charter scam which is being investigated by the legislators but the court declined to grant her application.

Justice Ramat however directed the minister to serve court papers on both the National Assembly and the House of Representatives to come before the court and show cause why the reliefs being sought by the minister should not be granted.This was on 17 April. The case was adjourned till 29 April.

Diezani Alison Madueke: court order non-existent

Diezani Alison Madueke: court order non-existent

The House Committee chairman on Information, Hon Zakari Mohammed reportedly told newsmen on Monday at the National Assembly in the company of Hon Solomon Adeola, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, that the proposed interrogation of the minister by the Public Accounts Committee, PAC, over the matter had been stalled following a receipt of the court’s order restraining the PAC from inviting or summoning Mrs Allison Madueke over the investigations.

The angry Justice Ramat declined to go further with the proceedings and threatened to summon the Director of Legal Services at the National Assembly to come and show the purported said to have been made by the court which barred the House of Representatives from inviting the minister.

But the counsel who represented the National Assembly at the proceedings, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, a senior advocate of Nigeria, told the court that the Director of Legal services of the National Assembly who briefed him on the matter was also shocked at the development and explained that the National Assembly had no hand in the spread of the misinformation.

The court thereafter focused on the House of Representatives who, though a party in the matter, was not represented at the proceedings.

“I will not proceed with this matter. Since the confusion emanated from the House of Reps, which incidentally is not represented today in this court, I will adjourn this matter. Let the counsel of the House of Representatives come here and explain what happened. I have seen a copy of the press release in the media that was said to have been issued by the National Assembly that this court had ordered them to stop their investigation over the subject matter. As the presiding judge of this court, no such order was made”

Explaining the events that gave rise to the purported order, the judge noted that after hearing the minister’s exparte application where in she sought to stop the Public Accounts Committee from summoning her over the matter, that he ordered the minister’s lawyer, Mr. Etigwe Uwa, a senior advocate of Nigerian to serve the processes on the National Assembly to come here on the 17th of April to show cause why the reliefs sought should not be granted.

According to the judge, the minister’s lawyer returned to the court on the 17th of April and informed the court that due to the bomb blasts which rocked a Bus terminal in Nyanya on the outskirts of the Abuja metropolis that the court papers were not served on the National Assembly before the court adjourned the matter for today.

He expressed shock at the level of misinformation and deliberate and mischievous twisting of the facts for reasons yet to be unraveled.

Further hearing into the matter was subsequently adjourned to Monday, 5th May

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