The House of Representatives has mandated its committee on public accounts to investigate the alleged financial recklessness of Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, for spending N10 billion on Challenger 850 aircraft in two years.
The money was for payment of allowances to the crew, hanger packing and rent based on the lease agreement of Challenger 850 aircraft.
The committee is to report back to the House in three weeks.
The resolution, which was taken on the floor of the green chambers of the National Assembly on Thursday, followed a motion on the ‘urgent need to investigate the waste of resources on the arbitrary charter and maintenance of a Challenger 850 aircraft for non-official use’ sponsored by Samuel Babatunde Adejare.
Adejare observed that conthe alleged action of the minister is an offence against the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).
“Based on reliable evidence, the honourable minister of petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been alleged to commit the sum of 500,000 Euros (N130 million) monthly to maintain the aircraft, thus in two 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 act.
“There are strong indications that the above expenditure is only a tip of the iceberg, as several billions of naira have been allegedly wasted on flying the jet all over the world, obviously for the leisure of the honourable minister and her immediate family on trips that were of no benefits to the country.
“This colossal waste is currently estimated at N10 billion, which include the payment of allowances to the crew for the trips, hanger packing and rent based on the lease agreement. An official of 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 (FRA) and all other laws on fiscal discipline,” he noted.
Adejare, who wondered why an official of government could waste public funds on such luxury as chartering a personal jet 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, noted that “in 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 democracy.”
Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who presided over the plenary, observed that the House rule does not create room for motions of this nature to be debated.
“We will put it to a voice vote, and refer it to the relevant committee for further legislative action,” he said.
Meanwhile, the House has given its committee on gas three weeks to investigate the non-remittance of funds accruing from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, Bonny, to the federation account from 2004 till date and report back to it.
This is sequel to a motion moved by Aminu Suleiman under matters of urgent public importance in which he noted that NLNG has flagrantly disobeyed and breached section 162(1) of the 1999 constitution by not remitting funds accruing to it within the period under review.
Section 162(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended makes it mandatory for all revenue collected by the government of the federation to be remitted into the federation account.