From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
House of Representatives adhoc committee investigating crude oil exports from 2014 till date and alleged illegal sale of $2.4 worth of crude oil, on Thursday, grilled the Head, National Central Bureau (NCB), Interpol, AIG Garba Baba Umar for inviting whistleblowers for questioning.
The chairman of the panel, Mark Gbillah, while speaking at the investigative hearing, queried why the Interpol boss, for allegedly inviting some of the whistle blowers for “investigation”. Gbillah, who warned against harassing and intimidating the witnesses, assured that the House was determined to unearth the hidden issues the alleged illegal deals.
According to him, “two of them were the ones who approached us willing to give detail of what transpired in this whole situation but considering the fact that you were not involved in that initial investigation, I want to first start by asking how come you write letters to these individuals after the committee’s investigation had commenced and after they had indicated desire to give evidence to this committee”.
The lawmaker added “we will not allow anybody who has any information for this committee to be intimidated, coerced or harassed by the police.
“These individuals are not in hiding. They have only been contacted after the committee had commenced its investigation. The person who is in Mexico obviously has business to do in Mexico. There was no flight advisory. We are not abusers of the law. We would expect that you too should be interested in ascertaining the fact. We want everybody to be free to provide evidence”.
However, Umar, while addressing the lawmakers, said the matter is already in court and it will be prejudicial for him to speak on it.
Nevertheless, he said : “It is our kindly advice that all enquiries into this case can be directed to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and competent Court of Law that are handling the matter.
“It will be prejudicial for the Nigeria Police Force to disclose or go into a matter that is pending before a competent Court of jurisdiction.
“However, the Nigeria Police Force is ready to assist the National Assembly in their oversight function.
“Attached herewith are copy of the Letter from the Attorney general of the Federation, Charge Sheet, Summary of the prosecution’s case against the defendants, Hearing notice and remand warrant from the Federal High Court,” Umar stated.