The Nigerian Senate has summoned nine airline operators over the alleged misappropriation of the five hundred billion naira intervention fund released by the Federal Government in 2011.
Chairman of the Senate committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma announced this on Monday during the opening of a two day investigative public hearing on the disbursement and utilization of intervention fund earmarked for the power and
Aviation sectors by the previous administration.
“Please, be rest assured that if any part of the funds has been corruptly applied we shall get to the roots of it and ensure that the culprits no matter who they are, are brought to justice. In this respect, we shall do all within our powers to determine whether the funds were judiciously applied by all the affected airlines or individuals.”
The airline operators are, “Arik Airlines Ltd, Dana Airlines Ltd, Aero Helicopters, Kabo Air Ltd, & Caverton Helicopters. Others include Oveland Airways Ltd, First Nation Airways Ltd, Odenegene Air Shuttle Services Ltd, & Chanchangi Airlines.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria had revealed that the N500 billion was approved as intervention funds for the Aviation industry, Power, as well as small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).
The apex bank also noted that the sum of N120 billion was disbursed to the benefiting airline operators at 7% interest rate and repayment period of 15 years.
Nigeria’s Aviation Minister of state, Senator Hadi Sirika later informed the lawmakers that neither the Ministry nor its agencies had a record of such disbursement executed during the period under review.
“But what is unbelievable even to us in the ministry is that those monies we have heard here in the public hearing were transferred to private accounts, to acquire banks and houses in other countries but they were not meant for those purposes or for the purpose they were meant for.
And what is even more baffling to me is that those banks that supervised such transactions knew that those monies were not used for the original intent as appropriated.”
The 2 day investigative public hearing which ends on Tuesday is organized by the Senate joint committee on Aviation and Anti Corruption.