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Petroleum minister accused of spending $13 billion

21 March 2014, 08:52

Abuja - The House of Representatives has asked its Committee on Public Accounts to investigate allegations that Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Allison-Madueke, has spent over $13 billion in the last two years on a private jet.

The lawmaker representing Agege Constituency, Samuel Adejare (All People’s Congress, Lagos), accused the minister of such misconduct.

The lawmaker insisted that the minister has spent over N3 billion for charter of aircraft and spent another N10 billion for maintenance of the aircraft, a Challenger 850 Aircraft.

Adejare said it was improper for the minister to have spent such money on “frivolities” at a time the resources of the country were dwindling and government was complaining of funding challenges.

“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, among others an official of government could waste public funds on such luxury as chartering a Challenger 850 Aircraft for extra official use. 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,” he complained.

Adejare also explained that there were strong indications that the expenditure was only a tip of the iceberg as “several other billions of Naira” had 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.”

“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. If government could be bankrolling this waste in the face of ever dwindling public resources, it 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,” said Adejare.

Adejare further explained that an investigation into the matter revealed that the minister was financing the lease of the aircraft with public funds.

When the matter was put to voice vote, it was unanimously supported by members.

The Speaker ruled that the House Committee on Public Account take charge of the probe and report back to the House within two weeks.

The stint of previous Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, was shrouded in controversy, which led to her demise in cabinet. 

– CAJ News

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