BY SULE TAHIR.
THE House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Oil Theft is inviting several high-ranking officials in the Federal Government over its investigation into an alleged loss of over $2.4 billion in revenue from illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil export in 2015.
Some of the officials invited on Tuesday to answer questions are the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; and the Secretary General of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, reports has disclosed.
Also summoned are the acting Accountant General of the Federation, Sylva Okolieaboh; and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), among others.
The committee is also concerned about the disparity in figures from crude oil sales from 2011 to 2014 and is accusing the minister of finance of approving payments to whistle-blowers in variance with the whistle-blower policy.
The ad hoc House committee is investigating a whistle-blower’s allegation of illegal sale of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s bonny light crude in China in 2015, valued at $2.4 billion.
The committee, in February, had accused the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami as well as Interpol, on what it described as interference in the committee’s investigation.
The committee questioned why a whistle-blower would be invited by Interpol on the request of the Ministry of Justice just after the commencement of the investigation of the House.
However, the Head of the National Central Bureau of Interpol Nigeria, Garba Umar, said the Bureau only acted on the request of the AGF.
The Chairman, House Ad hoc Committee on Oil Theft, Mark Gbillah said, “There is a group called Advocacy for Good Governance and Free Nigeria.
“That is the so-called Civil Society Organisation that wrote to the Attorney General claiming there was this international gang of blackmailers trying to blackmail senior officials of the government.
“How come the Attorney General responded to allegations by a faceless body? That means the Attorney General himself did not ascertain the veracity of any organisation.”
The Committee, dissatisfied with the submission of Interpol, accused the AGF of interfering with the investigation of the House.
The Committee feared the safety of the whistleblower and insisted that the Ministry of Justice should not be making direct requests to Interpol but should go through the police, as Interpol by law is only expected to respond to requests by local law enforcement agencies.