N543.6bn judgment debt: Reps step down payment

The House of Representatives has dissolved without approving the loan request by the immediate-past President Muhammadu Buhari for the Federal Government to pay some judgment debts totalling approximately N543,594,989,247.

Chairman of the House Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management Ahmed Dayyabu, laid the report on the presidential request on Wednesday but the lawmakers resolved that work had not been concluded on it and stepped down its consideration till the 10th House.

In May, Buhari at the twilight of his administration, written to the National Assembly to seek approval for payment of judgment debts owed by the government to the tune of N226,281,801,881.64.

According to Buhari, in a letter addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the government will make the payment through the issuance of promissory notes.

Meanwhile, the House considered and adopted the report by the Ad Hoc committee to investigate the ‘alleged loss of over $2.4bn in revenue from the illegal sale of 48 Million barrels of crude oil in 2015 including crude oil exports from 2014 to Date.’

The chairman of the committee, Mark Gbillah, laid the report earlier on Tuesday, though the panel still summoned more top officials of the last administration at its last investigative hearing on Monday.

Part of the report reads, “The security and anti-graft agencies should be advised to prosecute any of the individuals who initially made these allegations, if any one of them continues to peddle these false allegations after the committee’s investigation.

“The Abuja High Court handling the case against the related individuals is advised to resume the hearing and prosecution of the case, so justice can be meted out appropriately if any of the individuals are found culpable.

According to the panel, the delayed responses by the companies and the impending end of the 9th Assembly prevented the committee from comprehensively concluding its investigation on this aspect of its mandate.

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