The Presidency has explained its seeming indifference to constitute a panel to probe the allegations of misuse of public funds leveled against the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who made the presidency’s position known on the matter that has dominated public discourse in the past one week, said the Federal Government would not set up a probe panel to investigate the minister because she is currently under investigation by the House of Representatives.
Alison-Madueke was alleged to have spent N10bn on a chartered Challenger 850 aircraft in two years during which she used it for both official and unofficial purposes.
The House is currently probing the allegations and has gone further to uncover another private jet allegedly at the beck and call of the embattled minister and funded by tax payers.
However, Okupe said that the Federal Government could not institute a probe panel on matters that had not been substantiated.
Okupe, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH yesterday on the matter, said since the House of Representatives had started investigating the minister, the right thing to do was to await the outcome of such a probe before any further action could be taken.
He said, “The Federal Government cannot set up a probe panel just on things that have not been substantiated as such. The information I have is that the House of Representatives is looking into the matter and they want to invite the honourable minister. Definitely, the right thing is to wait for the outcome of such an interaction before anybody can decide to do anything”.
Though the House of Representatives had assured Nigerians that it would investigate the allegations against the petroleum minister and make its findings public, it is yet to start the probe one week after it gave the promise.