THE Head of the National Central Bureau (NCB) of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), Garba Baba Umar, says the House of Representatives should direct enquires over the alleged loss of over $2.4 billion from the illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil export in 2015, to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
He said this when he appeared before the House ad-hoc Committee investigating the matter. The Committee is also probing crude oil export from 2014 to date.
The Committee was questioning the Interpol boss for going after whistleblowers who exposed the alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude in China in 2015 estimated at $2.4 billion after they approached the House to expose the deal.
Umar said they were after the whistleblowers following a petition from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate the activities of some Nigerians and foreign nationals involved in blackmail and extortion of government functionaries using forged documents to gain access to government institutions and to carry out fraudulent activities.
Umar said: “This is to inform the Committee that INTERPOL is not investigating a new case. The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation only seeks INTERPOL assistance by using INTERPOL tools to arrest the fugitive who has since flown out of the country in order to escape justice.
“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 the competent Court of Law that is 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 copies of the letter from the Attorney General of the Federation, charge sheet, a summary of the prosecution’s case against the defendants, hearing notice, and remand warrant from the Federal High Court.
“I have no knowledge. I have no interest. There is a request from a competent ministry asking us to trace these people. And they attached a court warrant. I will never allow anybody to use me. It’s a request. Those who may be able to answer are those who investigated the matter and the office of the attorney general. But I assure you we are not investigating. We are assisting.”
Earlier, the chairman of the committee, Mark Gbillah had cautioned the police against interfering with the investigation, saying the House was working in the overall interest of the country.
He said: “It may interest you to know that at the time when these allegations seemingly occurred, the department that was sent in to the police to investigate this was the Force CID, then under the DIG Michael Ogbizi now retired.
“The report is supposed to have been made and forwarded for action by the Attorney General. But it will also be something we would want to understand why now if it is related to that issue why is the Interpol writing to some of these individuals?”
“Two of them were the ones who approached us willing to give details 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 committee also summoned the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), hinting of their decision to embark on a trip to Mexico to meet with the country’s officials on the issue for more information.
“Clerk, please do a letter to the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation and the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation to furnish this Committee with a detailed report of the investigation of the allegation against these individuals, as it was done by DIG Michael Ogbizi or any other department of the police.
“I will also want a certified true copy of the letter from the DPP to the Inspector-General of Police to carry out that investigation in the first instance, and the reasons for why that investigation was carried out.
“I will also want to get the certified true copy of the case filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions against these individuals before any court of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria.
“We will not allow anybody who has any information for this committee to be intimidated, coerced or harassed by the police.