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PTDF scam:We stand by our report

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2007/03/26 | Views: 441 |

PTDF scam:We stand by our report


As varied reactions continue to trail the report of the Senate Review Committee on the Report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), the chairman of the committee, Senator Umaru Tsuari has insisted that the report was based on evidence before his committee.

As varied reactions continue to trail the report of the Senate Review Committee on the Report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), the chairman of the committee, Senator Umaru Tsuari has insisted that the report was based on evidence before his committee.

While maintaining that the committee did a good job, Tsuari explained why the committee did not recommend the impeachment of both President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar despite finding quilty of mis-managing the fund. Excerpts:

When your committee was inaugurated, the Senate president specifically requested the committee to come up with what he described as actionable recommendations, going through your recommendations, do you think your recommendations are really “actionable” in the real sense of it ?

Well, I don’t know what you mean by actionable because we make laws, we don’t break laws. When you make laws, you make sure you comply with the law. Interpretation of the law is not by the National Assembly, not by the executive, it is a responsibility of the judiciary. So, if you think our recommendations are not actionable, then I will tell you that we were guided by specific laws.

Let me give you an example. If you read section 88 sub- section 2(a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution, the National Assembly has the power to make investigations with the aim of making or amending laws.
Section (b) empowers us to expose corruption, extravagance or wastage, that is the only thing that we could do. Any thing short of that as far as the investigation is concerned, then we are going outside the constitution. Ours is to investigate the activities and review the findings of the ad-hoc committee on the PTDF activities.

Also, we looked at what the law says when it comes to finance management. We looked at the finance management control Act too. The constitution says we cannot prosecute, we cannot sanction and we cannot indict. Now, from our report, is there any recommendation that has contravened the constitution?
I know you the press and everybody thought impeachment should be recommended. Ours is to comment if we find that these people have done some thing unlawful or outside law.

Let me give you an example, Hamisu Abubakar, the former Executive Secretary of PTDF, when we found him wanting we referred him to EFCC. Now, we found that Vice President Atiku Abubakar has approved some money outside his mandate, above the limit and without recourse to the Federal Executive Council. That is illegal and unlawful, we referred him to Code of Conduct that can try people occupying office of his calibre.
The President too paid N250 million as fee for registering a company. We find that to be a wastage.

We have no right to say refund it because if we say refund it, it means we are overstretching our bounds. We have no right. And then, he approved 10 million dollars to buy computers for civil servants. It is outside the purview of the PTDF law. So, we said with all these kind of things, we found out that Obasanjo has committed something unlawful which is outside his mandate, therefore he should also be referred to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

What would you say is the fundamental difference between your report and the first one?
It is for you to check. Go and find out because the two reports are with you. Sometimes we agreed with their recommendations, where we don’t, we disagree. So, I don’t know, if actionable means asking the president to resign or asking that he should be impeached. We have no such power, the constitution never said so.

We have seen in the life of this senate where investigation like this will be carried out, report will be laid and reference will never be made of it. One of them is the investigation of the illegal withdrawal from the Federation Account and another is the one involving the Deputy Senate President where he was alleged to had approved for himself certain money to furnish his house.

Having come this far, how would you feel if at the end of the day your report goes the way of others that never saw the light of the day?
But I hope you know that we resigned? Why did we resign? Ours is to carry out our assignment as a committee, I think it is not our duty to force the senators to accept, to present the report. We were angry with the Senate leadership because they never wanted us to present our report.

Once we lay it on the table it becomes the property of the Senate. You, the press and the world and everybody will see us to have performed our duty. It is now left for Senate to say when it is going to take this report and consider it. Whether they are going to take it today, tomorrow, or next year, or next Senate, that is not the duty of my committee. The duty of my committee is to do exactly what it did and we are comfortable with the outcome. And nobody can challenge us by saying we failed in doing our duty.


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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.