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Obasanjo to appear before committee in power probe

Former President
8 May 2008 – Nigeria’s House of Representatives has decided to call former president Obasanjo, deputy president Abubakar and former finance minister Usman to appear before the Committee on Power and Steel.

The committee is investigating a sum of US$16 billion, earmarked for power projects, which it is alleged was misappropriated and mismanaged during the former president’s term.

In the letter dated May 3, addressed to the former president, entitled "Invitation to Appear at the Public Hearing on the Power Sector" and signed by the Clerk of the Committee, the committee wrote: "The House committee on Power and Steel was mandated by the House of Representatives…to carry out a thorough investigation and conduct a Public Hearing into how huge sums of money was [were] expended in the power sector from 1999 to 2007 without commensurate result….

"In the course of the hearing, a lot of allegations and counter allegations were made. References were also made to approvals and directives alleged to have been given by Your Excellency as the then President of Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as in your capacity as chairman of the Federal Executive Council.

"The decision to extend an invite to you was taken on Tuesday April 22, when the members unanimously resolved that before submitting its report, it is appropriate to give you fair hearing by inviting you to come and give an insight and perspective into what you know or your role in the execution of projects in the Power Sector from 1999 to 2007.

"We should be able to get vital information from these people so that we can make our recommendations to the House in plenary. It is true we have invited them and we have the powers to summon them. At least you are aware of the relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly sections 88 and 89. We are not joking and we know what we are doing here. You don’t jump to conclusions," said committee chairman, Ndudi Elumelu.

They will appear before the committee on Monday 12 May.