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PTDF: Senate clears Obasanjo, leaves Atiku half-way free

Posted by From BASHIR UMAR, Abuja on 2007/05/11 | Views: 1820 |

PTDF: Senate clears Obasanjo, leaves Atiku half-way free


The Senate yesterday cleared President Olusegun Obasanjo of wrong-doings he was earlier indicted for by the Senate Committee which reviewed the Senator Ndoma-Egba ad-hoc panel which probed the alleged financial mismanagement in the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).

The Senate yesterday cleared President Olusegun Obasanjo of wrong-doings he was earlier indicted for by the Senate Committee which reviewed the Senator Ndoma-Egba ad-hoc panel which probed the alleged financial mismanagement in the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).

But it was a reprieve he got by the whiskers in a sharply divided session of the upper legislative chamber in which sympathisers of the president and Vice President Atiku Abubakar went for one another’s jugulars.

Atiku, who was also indicted along with Obasanjo was, however, only partially let-off, after a protracted debate that went three hours beyond the schedule.

Passing the resolutions after the debate, the senators quashed the Senator Umar Ibrahim Tsauri-led review panel’s view of President Obasanjo’s approval of some projects, allegedly outside the mandate of the PTDF as illegal and its recommendation that he be referred to the Code of Conduct Bureau for further action.

The lawmakers also struck out the panel’s indictment of Obasanjo and the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Funsho Kupolokun, for maintaining four different accounts namely: Reserve Account; Inspectorate Account; Bank Operation Account and Independent Revenue Account with the Central Bank in the name of PTDF.

In his case, the Senate upheld the indictment of Vice President Abubakar for "wrongly approving 20million dollars on 14th October 2003 without the authority of Mr. President." However, it deleted the clause which says that "the Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar be referred to the Code of Conduct Bureau for further action."

It also struck out the committee’s decision that due process was followed by the VP in his approvals of $125million on April 26, 2003 and subsequent placement of $115million in Equatorial Trust Bank and $10million in Trans International Bank.

Again, the Senate had resolved that Hussaini Jalo, a former Executive Secretary of PTDF from July 2005 to November 2005, who is under investigation by the EFCC, be prosecuted over the sum of N49million and six vehicles so far recovered from him.

The Senate also quashed the recommendation in respect of the progress report on Obasanjo administration and photographs for State House Library, for which the former Executive Secretary approved N4.5million, which the committee viewed as being outside the mandate of the PTDF, and recommended that Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri be referred to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further action.

The Senate, however, agreed that all projects approved for the PTDF from 2003 till date should be verified and evaluated by the Senate committees on Petroleum Resources, Public Accounts or an Ad-hoc Committee for that purpose.

It also resolved that all accounts in the name of PTDF within and outside Nigeria should be established by the Senate committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Public Accounts or an Ad-hoc Committee for that purpose.

The Senate also upheld that agencies like the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Department of Petroleum Resources and the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation should play their roles as expected to aid the PTDF in meeting the objectives for which it was established.

But the Senate concurred with the Committees’ recommendation that all accounts opened in contravention of section 1(c) of the PTDF Act should be closed forthwith, while the PTDF Act should be amended to accommodate the current realities in the oil and gas as well as the solid mineral sectors.
Debating the PTDF issue earlier, senators spoke variously on the involvement and culpability of President Obasanjo and Vice President Abubakar, taking sides with either of them depending on which camp they belonged, even as a few of them warned the Senate against being biased considering the sensitivity and importance of the subject matter.

Clearly under serious pressure to control the senators from taking side, Senate President Ken Nnamani shouted severally that the Senate must be seen to make an objective deliberation without giving the impression that there was a difference between the Ndoma-Egba Ad-hoc Committee and the Tsauri Review Committee.

Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, it will be recalled, had chaired the Ad-hoc Committee that investigated Vice President Atiku Abubakar in public along with senior officials of the PTDF and the banks involved in the financial scam.

After debating the Ad-hoc Committee’s report, some senators expressed dissatisfaction and passionately argued that President Obasanjo needed to be given fair hearing while others insisted that Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, one of the central figures in the scam, needed to be heard.

The Review Committee under Senator Tsauri, therefore, invited President Obasanjo who responded in a written letter to the Committee, while Otunba Fasawe appeared before in a closed-door session.



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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown