N300bn aviation/power fund diverted to Ghana – Senate

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore June 21, 2016 10:56

N300bn aviation/power fund diverted to Ghana – Senate

The Nigerian Senate has confirmed that the N300 billion aviation/power intervention funds were transferred to private accounts and diverted to purchase properties in Ghana. The Aviation Ministry stated that it is not aware of the disbursement of the funds. The revelation came to light yesterday at an investigative hearing on the disbursement and utilisation of N300billion power and aviation intervention fund released by the Nigerian Federal Government in 2011.

The 10 airlines that benefited from the funds include: Arik Airlines, Dana Airlines, Aero Helicopters, Kabo Air, Caverton Helicopter, Overland Airways, First Nation Airways, Chanchangi Airlines, Odenegene Air and Air Nigeria.

Although the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, explained that out of the 10 airlines that benefited from the fund, two of them: Air Nigeria and Chanchangi have become moribund, he failed to list how much each of the airlines collected, but the total was set at N120bn at 7% interest for between 10 and 15 years with N39.5billion recovered so far.

Chairman of the Joint Committee on Aviation and Anti-Corruption, Hope Uzodinma asked the CBN Governor to produce the individual disbursements to airlines within 24-hours.
One senator wondered why an aircraft was grounded due to not being able to replace an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) that cost $4,000 after the airline collected a N6billion loan?

One of the ten airlines got access to the government money in 2011 and shortly after, they transferred huge sums of money to a company in Ghana, apparently to acquire a business in Ghana with the money that is meant to develop aviation in Nigeria.
In his submission, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said neither the ministry nor its agencies were aware of the disbursement of the funds.

But other stakeholders at the session like John Nnorom who served as Finance Director of now defunct Air Nigeria, said diversion of N34.5billion loan to Air Nigeria to other ventures led to the collapse of the airline.

He said: “The N34.5 billion drawn from the fund by the airline was diverted to other personal business by the owner of the airline, Jimoh Ibrahim.

“The very moment the N34.5 billion intervention fund was paid into the Airline’s account with United Bank for Africa (UBA), it disappeared into one of the private accounts of the owner without any amount from the fund injected into the Airline, paving the way for its eventual collapse”.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore June 21, 2016 10:56