Diezani private jet scandal: Court restates order on Reps appearance

Minister Of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke

The minister and NNPC had instituted the suit seeking to restrain the National Assembly from investigating its alleged spending on the hired aircraft.

An Abuja Federal High Court, on Monday ordered the House of Representatives to appear and explain allegations that it had stopped the probe of NNPC’s N10 billion spent on hiring an aircraft.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed had on April 29, made the same order for the House to appear before him, but at the resumed hearing on Monday, the lower chamber “did not enter appearance’’.

Mr. Mohammed had given the order following media reports that spokesperson of the House, Zakari Mohammed, had claimed that the court had stopped the planned investigation.

Mr. Zakari was quoted as saying that the probe of Alison-Madueke and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation by the House’s Committee on Public Accounts had been stopped by the court.

The minister and NNPC had instituted the suit seeking to restrain the National Assembly from investigating its alleged spending on the hired aircraft.

Justice Mohammed had on April 15 in a motion exparte, granted leave to the plaintiffs to serve the National Assembly the court processes to enable it “enter appearance’’.

Following the absence of the House again on Monday, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Etigwe Uwa, observed that the House had been treating the case with levity.

Mr. Uwa noted that the defendants had consistently refused to appear in court in spite of being served with court processes and hearing notices as directed by the court.

Mr. Uwa, therefore, urged the court to compel them to appear in court.

In his ruling, Mr. Mohammed restated his earlier order thus: “as far as this court is concerned, the order of April 29, requesting the House of Representatives to appear before this court to clarify whether it was served with a restraining order by this court, regarding the investigation of the plaintiffs in this case, “still stands’’.

“There is the need for them to appear and give a clarification, because on one hand, they told the whole world that this court has restrained them from conducting further enquiry against the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

“On the other hand, the record of this court shows that no such restraining order was made by this court,’’ the judge said.

He adjourned the case until May 26, for them to appear to explain where they got information of being served with a restraining order.

Mr. Mohammed also ordered that hearing notice be issued and served on the House to enable them enter appearance on the next adjourned date.

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