$2.4bn Stolen Crude Probe: Reps Invite Finance Minister, SGF, NNPC, Others

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The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Secretary General of the Federation, Boss Mustapha have been ordered to appear before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Oil Theft.

The were invited by the committee over its investigation into the alleged loss of over $2.4 billion in revenue from illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil export in 2015.

Some other highranking government officials were also invited by the committee on Tuesday.

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They will answer questions concerning the alleged stolen money.

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.

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