N586bn fraud Senate begins probe in aviation industry

Uzodinma frowned at how such a huge amount of money of N500billion intervention fund meant for the industry, Small and Medium Enterprises and power sector was mismanaged.

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Rotimi Amaechi

(Vanguard)
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The Senate has commenced investigation into disbursement and utilisation of 40 million dollars Afrix Loan and N86 billion released by the Federal Government in 2011 for rehabilitation and development of infrastructure in aviation industry.

The Chairman, Joint Committee on Aviation and Anti-Corruption, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, made this known at the two day investigative hearing in Abuja on Monday.

He said the committee would leave no stone unturned in unravelling the mystery behind the fund.

Uzodinma frowned at how such a huge amount of money of N500billion intervention fund meant for the industry, Small and Medium Enterprises and power sector was mismanaged.

``We are interested in finding out the fact to reposition the industry.

``We will not leave any stone unturned because the Federal Government has invested so much in the industry, yet there is one problem or the other.’’

Responding, The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, told the committee that his ministry and agencies under it, based on available records, were not aware of the fund.

Amaechi said that the ministry did not know anything about 40million dollars neither did "we know about any N86.6 billion".

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, said out of the N120 billion intervention fund, only N39.5 billion had been recovered, while N81billion was still outstanding.

Emefiele, represented by Director, Development Finance Department, Mr Mudashiru Olaitan, said that 10 Airlines benefitted from the fund, adding that some of them had gone moribund.

He said Air Nigeria and Chanchangi Airlines had folded up, while Arik, Dana, Aero, Kabo, Overland, First Nation, Odenegene airlines, were still in operation on the strength of the fund.

He explained that the monitoring and implementation of the fund by the beneficiaries was given to Bank of Industry which facilitated the loans for the airlines.

The committee at the end of the first day of the probe directed that the CBN governor and heads of other agencies, including airlines to appear in person during Tuesday’s hearing.

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