The House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Oil Theft has invited several high-ranking officials in the Federal Government for questioning in relation to an investigation into an alleged loss of over $2.4 billion in revenue from the illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil exports in 2015.
Among those summoned to appear before the committee are the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; the Secretary General of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the acting Accountant General of the Federation, Sylva Okolieaboh; and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
The committee is also concerned about discrepancies in figures from crude oil sales between 2011 and 2014 and has accused the Minister of Finance of approving payments to whistle-blowers that are not in line with the whistle-blower policy.
Additionally, the ad hoc House committee has previously accused the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, and Interpol of interfering in their investigation into the alleged oil theft. The committee questioned why Interpol would invite a whistle-blower at the request of the Ministry of Justice just after the House investigation had commenced.
However, the Head of the National Central Bureau of Interpol Nigeria, Garba Umar, stated that 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 charged the AGF with interfering with the House’s probe because it was unhappy with Interpol’s reply.
The Committee was concerned for the whistleblower’s safety and argued that the Ministry of Justice should contact Interpol through the police rather than directly, as Interpol is only required by law to react to requests made by local law enforcement organizations.