By Christiana Ekpa
The Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives investigating the alleged loss of over $2.4 billion in revenue from illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil export in 2015 including crude oil exports from 2014 till date has again invited the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami to appear before it tomorrow.
Speaking during 3 days investigative hearing organized by the Commitee yesterday, the Chairman of the panel, Hon Mark Gbillah emphasized the need for the ministers to appear before it to explained certain aspects of the allegations.
Recall that both ministers had separately appeared before the panel few weeks ago and Malami on his part claimed the matter as raised by the whistleblowers involved is baseless.
Their invitation, this time, as read at the panel by the chairman, Hon. Gbillah may not be unconnected to the allegations so far gotten from some agencies involved in the matter after its interrogation.
Hon Gbillah lamented the inability of some Chief Executive Officer of Total Exploration and Production Co TE&P Co Ltd to honour the panel invitation as well as submit requested documents on pre-shipment inspection of crude oil.
The Chairman further explained that early appearance of companies invited by the panel could help his committee to finish up on time as well as write down it recommendations to the Comittee of the Whole.
Consequently, the Panel’s Chairman also used the opportunity to remind critical stakeholders of the role of parliament adding that its has powers to invite any person or authority and can order investigation into any matter just as it has powers to make laws.
While citing the provisions of section 88 and 89 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999, the Chairman also emphasized the Important of legislature in democracy.
Meanwhile, the committee had grilled some companies who allegedly were involved in the export of crude oil to foreign destinations and demand that these companies submit necessary documents such as pre-shipment inspection, bank accounts details and statements.
During his appearance before the pannel, the Operational Manager of of Melinium Oil and Gas, Kingsley Etuk Akpan informed the lawmakers that 20 Square KM field was acquired.
Akpan while responding to question on whether his company have documents insupport of the ownership answered affirmatively adding that they operational document was from Shell.
He also disclosed to the Commitee that they bidded for the contract as letter of award among other documents are intact in their custody.
On whether, his company pay royalties to the federal government or not, Akpan admitted that they do, adding that over $65 Dollars has been remitted into government covers.