The fate of the embattled Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, may soon be known going by the fact that the administrative committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to investigate her role in the purchase of two bulletproof BMW cars by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority will on Monday(today) complete its assignment.
Our correspondent learnt that the Presidential committee, which has a former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello, as its chaiman, had been meeting secretly in the Office of the NSA.
The panel has the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) and Air Vice Marshal Dick Iruenebere (retd.) as members.
A similar panel by the House of Representatives, which on Thursday submitted its report, indicted Oduah and the NCAA.
A Presidency source said the committee might submit its report to the President any time this week before he leaves for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting holding in Sri Lanka.
The source added that the presentation might also be kept away from public glare just like the panel’s meetings.
He however said a formal statement containing the President’s position would be made.
In announcing the establishment of the committee on October 23, 2013, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, had said members were expected to, among other things, ascertain whether the procurement of the vehicles followed due process, the purpose of procurement and inquire into any other incidental matter.
He had said, “President Jonathan will like to assure the general public that nobody, no matter how highly placed, will be shielded or exempted from this inquiry that he has directed and that appropriate action will be taken against any person or persons who may be found guilty of misconduct or misappropriation of public funds either in this respect or in any other respect.”
On its part, the House had established some “infractions” against Oduah and the NCAA.
The panel, headed by Mrs. Nkiruka Onyejeocha, had refused to make a copy available to the media on the grounds of avoiding a breach of House procedures. This forced journalists to scoop the highlights of the report through other sources.
Onyejeocha however claimed on Friday that what the media reported was not the exact reflection of the committee’s recommendations.
For example, the committee was said have recommended that Jonathan should sack the minister for exceeding the official limit in approving the purchase of the bulletproof cars.
It also allegedly recommended that sanctions be imposed on the former Acting Director-General of the NCAA, Nkemakolam Joyce, and the agency’s Director of Finance, Salawu Ozigi.
Besides, the panel reportedly sought the immediate termination of a loan agreement of N643m to finance the purchase of 54 vehicles, (including the armoured vehicles) between the NCAA and First Bank Nigeria.
Coscharis Motors Limited is to be asked to refund the N255m meant for the bulletproof vehicles while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should investigate the company for alleged abuse of waivers.
The report was also said to have noted that while the National Assembly approved only N240m for the NCAA for the purchase of 25 vehicles this year, the agency went behind the legislature to purchase 54 vehicles at the cost of N634m.
The National Assembly had rejected the proposal to buy two bulletproof cars, but the agency bypassed the legislature to buy the vehicles.
The committee described this act as “extra-budgetary spending” and held Oduah and the NCAA accountable.
However, the report has yet to be considered, adopted or rejected by the House.
Under the rules of the House, a committee on completion of an assignment, will lay its report before the House.
The House will later list it for consideration, where members will go through the report clause-by clause.
The report can either be endorsed or rejected in the course of the consideration.