The House of Representatives ad hoc committee probing the award of oil prospecting licence (OPL) 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas, has invited former President Goodluck Jonathan to testify in the ongoing investigations.
A statement issued by the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee probing the alleged corruption, malpractices and breach of process in the award of OPL 245, Hon. Razak Atunwa, stated that a written invitation letter would be sent to former President Jonathan in the interest of “thoroughness, natural justice and fair play”.
“The Ad-hoc Committee on OPL 245 met to consider the progress of the Committee’s work and the next steps to be taken. The Committee noted that it had conducted extensive investigation into the OPL 245 saga and that it is drawing to a close.
“However, the Committee is of the view that in the interest of thoroughness, natural justice and fair play, it imperative that evidence should be taken from former President Goodluck Jonathan,” the statement reads.
The committee said it decided to invite Jonathan after taking into account the following facts:
- Jonathan was the President at the material time the ministers brokered the deal that lead to the allegation of $1bn funds diversion.
- Jonathan’s name features in the proceedings initiated by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in Italy.
- A UK court judgment in relation to an application to return part of the money being restrained, castigated the Jonathan administration as not having acted in the best interest of Nigeria in relation to the ‘deal’.
- The Attorney-General of the Federation at the material time, Mohammed Bello Adoke, has recently instituted proceedings in court wherein he pleaded that all his actions were as instructed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
- Accordingly, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, the Committee has decided to request that former President Goodluck Jonathan give evidence on his role in the matter. The Secretariat will write to him asking for his response and submissions.
Atunwa also said the former President’s response would determine the next line of action to be taken.
“The proper thing is that the committee has taken a decision that he must give evidence. Section 89 of the constitution requires that we ask for the evidence; we’ve asked him for evidence and he must give evidence, we have asked him to give his response and submission.
“A matter entirely for him is, he may desire to send us a written submission, and we consider every written submission. We take it one step at a time. The normal proceeding for a committee hearing investigating such matter is to take a written submission and whatever comes out of that will have to be decided at the committee level,’’ he said.