House of Representatives panel has invited former President Goodluck Jonathan to give evidence in the controversial $1 billion Malabu Oil deal.
In a statement, the Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee investigating the alleged corruption, malpractices and breach of process in the award of OPL 245, Razak Atunwa, said the committee decided to invite the former President to defend himself.
The statement reads: “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 is imperative that evidence should be taken from former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“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 lead to the allegation of $1 billion diversion of funds;
Mr. Jonathan’s name features in the proceedings initiated by the Public Prosecutor of Milan in Italy;
“A United Kingdom (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 pleads 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 as to his role in the matter. The secretariat will write to him asking for his response and submissions.”
Members of the committee met on Tuesday for several hours, till yesterday morning.
Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245, covers a large area of 1,958 square kilometres, including two deep water fields and is reckoned to hold an estimated 9.2 billion barrels of crude oil.
The former President was indicted by the Southern Crown Court in the United Kingdom (Case No 74/14) before Mr. Justice Edis on November 23 and 24, 2015 between Malabu Oil and Gas Limited (applicant) and the director of Public Prosecution (respondent).
Jonathan has since denied claims he was complicit in the Malabu deal through his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze.