The House of Representatives has maintained that its probe of the Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke’s alleged expenditure of N10billion on private jets charter is not a “witch-hunt”.
The House deputy spokesman, Victor Ogene stated this during a press briefing at the weekend.
The House had earlier insisted that the probe of the minister was “not selective and targeted”, but a constitutional duty as enshrined in Section 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Recall that President Goodluck Jonathan during his last media chat had alleged that most probes, particularly the one involving Mrs. Alison-Madueke, had political undertones. He went as far as claiming that the minister has spent more time appearing before probe committees than performing the duties for which she was appointed.
But Ogene said: “It is not a witch-hunt. When the seventh House was inaugurated, I don’t think they had any minister in mind. Investigation and oversight are constitutional duties. We are not prosecuting the minister”.
He added: “We turn over our reports to the same executive branch for implementation”.
On Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s insistence that she cannot honour the latest House summons without a presidential clearance, Ogene stated that her refusal to appear before the House would not put spanner in the work of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) empowered to investigate the matter.
“A probe does not begin and end with the physical appearance of the person under investigation. Section 89 (a) says it is not until somebody appears in the process of any investigation. So, the mandate of the committee has not been withdrawn.
“The House has power to investigate any public officer, under whose office the House has appropriated money. Therefore, the House will not shirk its responsibilities at any time”, the deputy spokesman explained.