N10 bln Scandal: Reps obtain travel logs of Petroleum minister’s jet
The House of Representatives is said to have secured the travel logs of the Challenger private jet used by Diezani Alison Madueke, the minister of Petroleum. The move comes as outrage increases over allegations that the minister spent a whopping $550,000 monthly in maintenance of the jet over a period of two years. More outrageous is the fact that the minister is alleged to have used the private jet for her family’s personal use instead of flying commercial, and saving the country billions of Naira.
The travel logs are said to cover the minister’s trips to China, South Africa, Dubai, and the USA.
The petroleum minister is said to have aborted a foreign trip with President Jonathan in order to prepare her defense before the House of Representatives summons.
A source told Nation: “This probe is a result of painstaking efforts by some members in the last one year. Some of these members, including those from PDP in the House, have secured the travel logs of the minister to and from Nigeria.
“For instance, she had been to China, South Africa, United States, the UK and the United Arab Emirates with the jet. At a point, the jet was relocated to Ghana when controversy arose on the jet in August last year.
“Even if FAAN, NAMA and NCAA decide not to release the records of movement of the Challenger Jet, these countries will oblige the House of Representatives. Also, the leasing company is foreign owned, it cannot hide the records if it wants to remain in business.”
Another source said: “We have identified some issues for Diezani as follows:
• What informed the hiring of the jet?
• Why will the parastatal be paying for the jet?
• Why will the minister travel in a private jet while on the delegation of the president to some countries?
• Assuming that the hiring of the jet was due to exigencies, what informed the extension of the privilege to members of her family as was the case during the 2013 Easter Break trip to Dubai in UAE?
“We are not after the person of the minister but we want probity in government. We won’t allow a serving public officer use the public treasury for personal purpose.
“And what we are doing is not new because a group, Crusaders for Good Governance (CGG), sent a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the same issue last year.”
Sources close to the Petroleum minister told Nation that she intends to deny the allegations. The source who spoke anonymously stated, “The minister is just upset with the allegation, she decided to cancel her schedule abroad to clear her image. She believes the allegations are too grave to ignore.
“She is already preparing her defence; she has devoted the weekend to do this. The minister has told everyone around her that there is a total misconception and misplacement of facts and purely an act of political blackmail against this administration
“By the time she is through with the facts and figures, Nigerians will know the truth. She was seriously upset that some people are personalizsing the issue. She said the figures they are quoting were exaggerated; when the Minister opens up, it will be revealing too.”