An ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating the OPL 245 Malabu Oil Deal has invited former President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before it to give an account on his role in the deal.
At a news briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, the ad hoc committee explained that it is imperative that evidence should be taken from the immediate past president in the interest of thoroughness, natural justice and fair play.
Chairman of the committee, Razaq Atunwa (APC, Kwara) said, “In arriving at this decision, the Committee took account of the following facts: Mr. Jonathan was the President at the material time the Ministers brokered the deal that led to the allegation of $1bn diversion of funds; Mr Jonathan’s name features in the proceedings initiated by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in Italy; A U.K. 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.”
“Accordingly, pursuant to the provisions of the constitution, the committee has decided to request that former President Goodluck Jonathan gives evidence as to his role in the matter.”
While responding to questions on the clarifications sought from Jonathan, Razak Atunwa, chairman of the committee, said the former president was at liberty to make a written submission to the committee or otherwise.
He 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,” he said.
“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.’’