Reps to invite Jonathan over $1.3bn Malabu oil deal

• Court to hear Patience Jonathan appeal July 12

The House of Representatives would invite former President Goodluck Jonathan to testify on his role in the award of Oil Prospecting Licence, OPL 245, to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd in the spirit of natural justice and fair play.

The Chairman of the House ad-hoc committee probing into the alleged $1.3 billion Malabu deal, Mr. Razak Atunwa, told reporters that the resolve to close in on the former president was based on the fact that at the time key ministers of his cabinet struck the deal, he was at the helms of affairs of the country.

He further claimed that Jonathan’s name featured in the proceedings initiated by the public prosecutor in Milan, Italy; a United Kingdom (UK) court judgment in relation to an application to return part of the money being restrained. It castigated the Jonathan administration as not having acted in the best interest of Nigeria in relation to the deal.

Buttressing his assertion, he claimed that the Attorney -General of the Federation at the time when the deal was struck, Mohammed Adoke Bello, recently instituted proceedings in court wherein he pleaded that all his actions were as instructed by the former President.

He disclosed that the committee decided to request the former president to give evidence as to his role in the mater in pursuant to constitutional provisions.

Atunwa hinted that the Jonathan may not be compelled to appear before the committee in person if he provides necessary information on his role in the deal to the committee.

However, the former president described reports linking him to the oil scandal as the handiwork of his detractors, who are threatened by his rising profile at home and in the international arena.

Meanwhile, an Appeal Court, Lagos Division, has fixed July 12 to hear an appeal filed by the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, in which she is seeking to stop the forfeiture of her $5.7million and N2,421,953,522.78 to the Federal Government.

The appeal was as a result of an order obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last April 26, from the Federal High Court in Lagos, temporarily forfeiting the cash to the government.

It said the N5.7 million was part of the $6,791,599.64 (about N2.1billion) which Mrs. Jonathan allegedly directed her aides to pay into her account between February 8, 2013 and January 30, 2015, while her husband was president.

Mrs. Jonathan, the commission said, had earlier spent $949, 282.98 (about N296, 141,911) from the money.

The EFCC had told Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, who made the order, that the funds were suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.

In the notice of appeal, she is praying the court to hold that the law cited by the EFCC in its ex-parte application for the temporary forfeiture was inapplicable.

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