THUR, OCTOBER 6 2016-House of Representatives on Wednesday resumed its investigation into the sale of OPL 245 with a threat to arrest officials of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), AA Oil as well as Malabo Oil if they fail to appear before the committee on October 18.
OPL 245 houses about 9.2 billion barrels of crude oil in an expanse of land measuring 1,900sqkm.
The resolution to arrest the officials was passed by Abdulrazak Atunwa-led ad-hoc committee investigating the circumstance surrounding the sale of OPL 245 and the diversion of $1.1 billion, being part of proceeds from the sale of the oil bloc.
According to Atunwa, Section 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowers the House to carry out public investigations on any issue that affects Nigerians.
He observed that the $1.1 billion (or N500bn), which was allegedly laundered in the OPL 245 deal, was enough to fund the 2016 capital projects of the Ministry of Education or power or even health.
Speaking on the transaction, Atunwa disclosed that OPL 245 was first sold by General Sani Abacha to Malabo Oil at the rate of $20 billion, but Malabo paid only $2 billion.
The transaction was however revoked during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration and while another round of bid conducted was won by Shell Petroleum at a bid price of $210 billion amid controversy.
According to Atunwa, Shell paid only $1.1 billion while the balance was laundered into foreign banks in Europe and unknown destinations.
In his remarks, Aliyu Yusuf, who spoke on behalf of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), denied knowledge of any previous summons from the Committee just as he requested for time to furnish the committee with all relevant documents.
On his part, Dafe Akpede, counsel to Shell, also denied previous knowledge of the previous summons and details of the transactions, while appealing to the committee for more time to be abreast with the subject matter.
While ruling, Atunwa directed all the parties to re-appear before the committee on the October 18, for further hearing.