The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has declared that the National Assembly cannot probe her without the approval of President Goodluck Jonathan. Alison-Madueke is currently under investigation for allegedly spending N10bn on a chartered aircraft.
However, the embattled Minister asserted that the House Committee on Public Accounts lacks the power to even summon her to appear before it without President Jonathan’s approval.
The Minister, alongside the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation made the submissions in an affidavit they filed in support of a fresh suit before an Abuja Federal High Court to stop the probe.
Alison-Madueke and the NNPC sued the Senate and the House of Representatives as the first and second respondents respectively. The suit is marked FHC/ABJ/CS/346/2014.
The second affidavit deposed to by Dominic Ezerioha, a lawyer in the law firm of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), states, “That by law, the respondents are enjoined to seek the consent of the President before ordering the applicants to tender the official unpublished papers, books, and records.
“All the documents being requested of the applicants by the respondents are unpublished official records, and the respondents in all their invitations have never shown to the applicants, any such evidence of presidential consent, after numerous demands made by the applicants that they do so.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the fresh suit and the respondents have yet to file their defence.
Attached to the fresh suit are 41 exhibits, which are mainly letters of invitation served by the National Assembly on the NNPC and the office of the Minister for the purpose of probing activities in the oil industry since 1999.
The House had asked the Minister to appear before it to answer questions relating to the scandal on June 17.
The applicants are seeking ‘‘an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves, servants, staff, committees, privies, proxies or any other persons whoever called from summoning them or any agencies under their supervision or control, to appear before them for the purpose of giving evidence and/or producing any papers, books, records or other documents, which relate to the unpublished official records of the Applicants without the consent of the President..’’