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Air Nigeria, Others Accused of Diverting N 300 billion Aviation Intervention Fund

By on June 22, 2012

The National Assembly Joint Committee investigating the Dana Air crash has accused Airline operators of the country of diverting the N 300 billion Aviation Intervention Fund made available to the sector by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2010.

On June 4th, the Nigerian public first heard these allegations when former Air Nigeria Director of Finance, John Nnorom disclosed sharp practices by Chairman of Air Nigeria, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim.
Nnorom, a close associate  of Jimoh Ibrahim for several years said that Air Nigeria airplanes were “flying coffins”.

Amongst several revelations Nnorom made, he stated, “In Air Nigeria, just to renew expatriate resident permit, Bar Jimoh Ibrahim will instruct a vendor to forge all the tax clearance papers which is filed with the immigration.”

He also stated, “As the chairman of Air Nigeria, has diverted N5billion From a BOI aviation industry intervention loan Of N35.5billion granted last year by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria into NICON INVESTMENT LTD;

“Diverted $18m Out Of $40m Afrixim federal government support of the aviation industry; with $26,969,505.63 diverted into Mr. Ibrahim’s acquisition of Energy Bank of Ghana”.

Already Nnorom is proving to have been fortright in his revelations as the Federal Inland Revenue Service has already charged Air Nigeria to court for failure to remit taxes and falsifying Tax Clearance Certificates.

The Joint Committee tabled its accusations before the minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah yesterday. It also accused Jimoh Ibrahim of diverting close to N 40 billion in Aviation intervention funds.

However Jimoh Ibrahim denied the allegations stating that his company never benefitted from Intervention funds.

He said, “We never had any money released to us in the name of the intervention fund. The allegation against us is baseless.”

Ms. Oduah in her testimony stated that she met the Fund on ground upon her assumption of ministerial duuties and called for a review of the Fund from the CBN.

She said, “The intervention fund was in existence before I came in, but if it was working right, I wouldn’t have gone to the Central Bank of Nigeria to ask for a review. I met the fund, but for me to accomplish my mission, I knew that the fund was not helping the industry and, therefore, I went to CBN to ask for a review.

“The aviation sector is about to die except we do something urgently, and that is why we developed a template to rescue the industry.”