EFCC Witness Reveals How Ex-NAMA Boss, Others Allegedly Looted N2.8bn

EFCC Witness Reveals How Ex-NAMA Boss, Others Allegedly Looted N2.8bn

 

A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nurudeen Bello, has told Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi how Mr Ibrahim Abdul-Salam and others allegedly converted N2.8 billion to their personal use.

Abdul-Salam, a former Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), and other defendants are facing trial for allegedly conspiring to induce the agency to deliver the sum to Delosa Limited, Air Sea Delivery Limited and Sea Schedule Systems Limited, under the pretext that the money represented the cost of clearing NAMA’s consignments.

The other defendants are Nnamdi Udoh (still at large), Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Segun Agbolade, Clara Aliche, Joy Ayodele Adegorite, Randville Investment Limited, and Multeng Travels and Tours Limited.

READ ALSO16 Die In Kano Road Accident

A statement from the EFCC, Bello who is an investigator with the anti-graft agency was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, on Friday at the court.

He identified the statements of the third defendant written on February 15, 16, 18, 22 and 24, 2016 as well as on March 12, 2016.

Bello also identified the responses to the letters written by the EFCC to the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS).

The prosecution counsel tendered the statements of the third defendant, which were admitted in evidence as exhibits E 1-7 and F, respectively.

When asked to read out the statement of account of Randville Investment Limited, the witness listed various sums of money received by Delosa, reportedly withdrawn from NAMA account.

“The money was transferred to Randville Investment, which shared them among Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, Multeng Engineering, Multeng Aviation, NNPC Retail Limited, Airspace Delivery and some Bureau De Change operators,” the EFCC investigator was quoted as telling the judge.

He added, “Cash withdrawals were mostly done by Segun Agbolade and Joy Ayodele Adegorite, for onward transfer to Segun Agbolade. Also, some cash payments were made to Mr Alaba Odulani.”

In his testimony, Bello further informed the court that less than N9 million was transferred in tranches in one day and several days in different months.

According to him, this was done to avoid triggering the reporting requirements of banks, if the money transferred was up to N10 million.

The witness stated that withdrawals allegedly made by Agbolade amounted to N3million in tranches, adding, “The transfers to Multeng Travel and Tours, Multeng Engineering, Multeng Aviation were made in order to facilitate withdrawals because of the cashless policy introduced by the CBN.”

He said, “Several millions transferred to the NNPC Retail Limited were to supply petroleum products to the filling station owned by Agbolade.

“The money transferred from Randville Investment Limited to Mr Odulani was for the purchase of a filling station in Egbeda, Lagos State.”

Bello had, during the previous sitting on Thursday, told the court that his team was assigned to investigate a petition against the defendant on February 5, 2016.

The prosecution counsel tendered the petition and the attachments which were admitted in evidence as Exhibits D.

Explaining what he did after receiving the petition, he said: “My team and I wrote to the bank, requesting the financial records of all the defendants. We also wrote to the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to obtain the records of importation made by the Nigeria Airspace Agency (NAMA) from 2010 to 2016.

“We wrote to Guaranty Trust Bank, attaching the NCS’s acknowledgement of payment receipt, seeking the authentication obtained by the bank. We received all the responses and same were analysed.”

“We proceeded to NAMA office, within Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, where we conducted extensive search and invited some of the defendants to the EFCC office,” he added.

When asked to identify exhibits A-C series and why the team wrote to the bank, he said the exhibits were some of the responses his team received from the letters sent to the bank.

After giving his testimony, Justice Kuewumi adjourned the case till June 13 and 14 for the continuation of trial.

NAMA, NIMET, NCAT And AIB Get New Bosses

Avaition: NAMA, NIMET, NCAT And AIB Get New BossesPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the appointments of four persons to head some key agencies in Nigeria’s aviation sector.

The approval was made public in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Sabiu Zakari.

The affected agencies are: Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, as well as the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

Captain Fola C. Akinkuotu, who is a seasoned transport pilot, flight and aircraft maintenance engineer, airline chief executive and a trained aviation industry regulator, has been appointed the Director General of NAMA.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Abuja, and a professor of geography with specialty in Environmental Application of Remote Sensing, Sani Abubakar Mashi, becomes the Director General of NIMET.

According to the statement, Captain Abdulsalam Mohammed is the new Rector at NCAT, while Mr Akinola Olateru is the Commissioner for AIB.

Captain Mohammed is an alumnus of NCAT and a renowned civil aviation trainer and examiner with accreditation by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Civil Aviation Administration.

Mr Olateru, on his part, is an engineer of international repute, a trained air accident manager and a certified safety officer with aircraft maintenance engineering licences in Nigeria, USA and the United Kingdom.

Alleged Fraud: Court Defers Trial Of NAMA Boss, Others

Court-NAMAA Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned hearing on the trial of the Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and six other persons till May 12.

Mr Ibrahim Abdulsalam and the other accused persons appeared before Justice Babs Kuewumi on Wednesday over an alleged fraud of 6850 billion Naira.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Abdulsalam alongside Adegorite Olumuyiwa, and his wife who is the Managing Director of Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, Joy Ayodele Adegorite on a 24-count charge bordering on alleged fraud.

Other accused persons are Agbolade Segun, Clara Aliche, and two limited liability companies, Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, as well as Randville Investment Limited.

At the resumed trial of the accused persons, their lawyers led by Mr Wale Akoni, urged the court to grant a very short adjournment to enable them study the ‘bulky’ proof of evidence served on them by the prosecution.

Lawyers to the other accused persons, Dunkwa A, Lanre Olayinka, and Abiodun Julius, informed the court that it had been extremely difficult to gain access to their clients at the prisons’ facilities where they were being remanded.

According to them, the situation has made it impossible for them to perfect the bail terms.

The lawyers lamented that their clients’ detention had also compounded their inability to understand the proof of evidence, urging the court to grant their application for adjournment.

In a swift reaction, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, vehemently opposed the application for adjournment while urging the court to dismiss same.

“We are opposing the application for adjournment. We found out that the applications lack merit and should be dismissed,” Oyedepo said.

The EFCC prosecutor further informed the court that the ground on which the applications for adjournment was made was overstretched.

He urged the court to dismiss the application for adjournment, and allow the trial to commence.

In his ruling, Justice Kuewumi conceded to the accused persons’ application for adjournment and deferred the trial till May 12.

The accused persons were also alleged to have converted various sums of money amounting to 4,003 billion Naira belonging to NAMA to their personal use.

Proposed Merger Of Aviation Agencies Will Not Work – Aviation Expert

proposed avaition

The National President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Benjamin Okewu, says the proposed merger of three different aviation parastatals into a single entity by the Federal Government will not work.

He explained that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is purely a regulator, while Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is a service provider that provides navigational services that will ensure that aircraft in the air are separated to prevent accident and Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) provides services for the maritime, construction, agriculture, environment and other sectors of the economy.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr Okewu said NCAA was still struggling with political interferences and that merging them with service provider would water the regulatory responsibility bestowed on it.

He emphasised that all over the world, nations that combine their regulatory agencies with one or two service aviation industry do so because most of them have small airports. “Nigeria has large airports and should not concern itself with merging agencies,” he stressed.

Oronsaye Report: FG To Scrap NAPEP, Merge NAMA, NCAA, NIMET

Jonathan and OronsayeThe Federal Government has released the white paper on the report of the presidential committee on restructuring and rationalization of Federal Government parastatals, commissions and agencies, rejecting most of the recommendations in the Steve Oronsaye report.

In the document released by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Federal Government rejected the recommendation to merge NTA, FRCN and VON.

It also rejected the recommendation to abolish the Federal Character Commission; privatization of FAAN; scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, and re-introduction of tuition fees in federal universities, among others.

The accepted recommendations include: scrapping of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission; repealing of the national salaries, income and wages commission law; scrapping of the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP; merger of Nigeria Airways Management Authority (NAMA), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET); and partial commercialization of NIPOST.

AIB Stepping Up Measures To Enhance Air Safety – Mukthar Usman

The Accident Investigation Bureau has said that it is stepping up measures in its bid to promote safety in the nation’s airspace.

One of these measures is creating a prevention roadmap by putting its new download laboratory to pro-active use by studying data from aircraft recorders.

This was made known by the commissioner of the bureau, Captain Mukhtar Usman, who added that several of its safety recommendations from past accident investigations have been implemented.

 

 

Local Airlines Can Begin Late Night Operations – NAMA

The Director General of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, (NAMA) Nnamdi Udo, on Saturday made an open call to operators of domestic airlines to commence late night flights as equipment to enable such operations are now available on request.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, Mr Anuforom said for “airlines who want to operate late … infrastructures are adequately available for (anytime) operation but they should notify us. It’s important Nigerians know this, so that nobody thinks what’s obtainable in New York is not available here.”

On Friday night, Enugu and Owerri had passengers up until 11pm, he added.

He admitted that most airports have “sunrise to sunset” operations but “today we have enough infrastructure for airlines to go in there (airports) anytime they want,” especially since traffic has increased as a result of the festive season.

Speaking about the loan obtained from China, Mr Udoh said it is being used to sustain the infrastructure which is existing as well as ensure total radar coverage, instrument landing system, air-field landing system in the aviation sector.

Backing up the Aviation Minister’s comments regarding the development in the sector, Director General of Nigerian Meteorological Agency, (NIMET) Mr Anthony Anuforum said that “everything we are doing is the implementation of the aviation master-plan.”

“We have acquired a wide range of infrastructure satellite image receivers, upper-air monitoring equipment and so on.”

According to the DG, six Doppler Radar Readers have been purchased while two have been installed and are operational in Abuja and Port Harcourt, the third and fourth are being installed in Yola and Maiduguri although there are security challenges.

“We have also procured wind shear alert systems” which are already in 8 airports and plans are underway to install in two more airports.

Upper air monitoring instrument have been increased to 8.

Thunderstorm detectors are available at up to 20 locations in the country, while satellite image receivers have also been acquired.

“These are the facilities we have and these are all part of what we are implementing to ensure safety.”

“Our services in air traffic control and surveillance is world class.”

 

 

Nigerian Senate Asks Agency To Drop New Charges On Private Airlines

The Nigerian Senate has asked the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to suspend the new charges it imposed on private airline operators in the country.

The Senate committee on Aviation gave this directive after a meeting with the management of NAMA and airline operators at the National Assembly on Monday.

Members of the committee asked the agency to ensure that proper consultation with relevant operators was done before setting fresh charges.

Nigerian airline operators at the meeting with the Senate committee described the new price regime as unpatriotic and discriminatory.

According to the new regime of charges rolled out by NAMA in August, foreign airline operators engaged in non-scheduled operations would pay $4,000 for every flight departure while Nigerian airliners engaged in non-scheduled operations would pay $3,000.

However, the agency later reviewed the charges downward in November, saying foreign airliners departing Nigeria would henceforth pay $3, 000 while local aircraft on non-scheduled operations would pay $2,500.

FG Grounds Oshiomhole’s Helicopter

A mild drama ensued on Friday in Benin City as a helicopter conveying Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, to the burial ceremony of Senator Ben Obi’s wife in Awka, Anambra state, was grounded for about an hour at the Benin airport by officials of the Nigerian Airport Management Authority (NAMA).

The helicopter belonging to OAS Helicopter had picked up the Governor at the Government House premises but was ordered to immediately land at the airport for clearance.

Aviation authorities contacted the pilot of the aircraft, James Manahash, shortly after take-off and ordered him to return to Benin, the Edo state capital.

The pilot was reportedly asked to go and pay some dues he should have paid before take-off.

After landing, Governor Oshiomhole who had instructed the pilot to return, left the chartered aircraft after waiting for about an hour and drove away in his official car in anger because the pilot could not get the aviation officials’ to proceed on his flight.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Kassim Afegbua who briefed journalists afterwards, said the Governor had to cancel his trip after being delayed for an hour and left for his village, Iyamho.

Mr Afegbua said it is worrisome that governors are no longer respected adding that they will not be provoked by the actions of NAMA.

Channels TV correspondent in Benin city however sought to get NAMA’s reaction on the matter but all efforts to see the Air Space Manager was unsuccessful as NAMA officials prevented our crew from entering NAMA’s premises, claiming they needed to get tags to let our crew in, yet they refused to provide the tags.

In his reaction, the coordinating general manager, Aviation Parastals, Yakubu Dati, said there is nothing political about the action.

He insisted that the decision was taken because the pilot failed to file the mandatory flight plan and passenger manifest and refused to do so as demanded by the aviation officials.

This is coming barely over a month after Rivers state-owned bombardier aircraft which was meant to convey Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, was prevented from leaving the Akure Airport because the pilot allegedly failed to declare the flight manifest.

 

 

 

NAMA Boss Says Nigerian Airspace Is Safer

The Managing Director of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nnamdi Udoh has reassured travellers of a safer air travel in the country.

Mr Udoh, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, advised travellers that boarded an aircraft that could not land due to poor weather condition to “walk up to the pilot and inquire why he did not get destination weather, did he not get briefed on weather before departure?”

He said this is important “because it is now mandatory for every pilot to go and get from the aeronautical information services’ operational office weather briefs, enroute and destination to be able to fly comfortably and arrive safely.”

Mr Udoh said the Nigerian aviation industry is compliant with the global standards as far as metrological information is concerned.

“The Nigerian Metrological Agency, recently got ISO9001 certified so you must be sure that the data our metrological agency gives out are correct,” he said.

The NAMA boss said a second development that has restored confidence in the country’s airspace is the strengthening of air traffic regulations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

He said, “The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has strengthen its general aviation arm; has strengthen its ramp inspection in ensuring that airlines do maintenance as required and are properly supervised.”

Watch the full video with Mr Udoh, who listed other criteria for expressing confidence in Nigeria air travel.

Private Jet Owners Can Airlift Friends, Associates – MD NAMA

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nnamdi Udoh on Tuesday refuted recent media reports that private jet owners cannot carry their friends and associates in their aircraft.

Mr Udoh, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said apart from their family members, private jet owners can carry their friends and associate as long as they meet some basic requirements.

He said, “That aircraft owner must have an operations department, who understand what the law of operations means. That aircraft owner must have an airworthiness certificate.”

The other requirements according to the NAMA boss are that the aircraft owner must have an insurance that protect him/her in case of an accident. The jet owner must also submit a manifest.

The long awaited National Civil Aviation Policy, 2013, which took the Federal Government over one year to prepare, was finally unveiled last Friday with severe rules for private jet owners in the country.

The policy barred individuals with private jets from carrying their friends and business associates on board the aircraft, stating that only members of their families are allowed aboard.

It states further that companies with private jets are permitted to carry only their employees or members of the Boards of Directors.

Moreover, the policy also directed that the identities of all passengers on-board any private jet must be made known through a manifest before air traffic control clearance will be sought.

It states, “Approval or clearance from the Director-General, NCAA, will not be required from Nigerians operating non-revenue flights with appropriate insurance policies in the following cases: “For private aircraft owned or leased by individuals, only the family members of the owner/lessee of the aircraft will be permitted on board as passengers; “For private aircraft owned or leased by companies or corporate entities, only the employees and members of the Board of Directors of the company will be permitted on board as passengers.

“For aircraft belonging to non-scheduled or scheduled operators, only the employees and members of the Board of Directors of the company or the corporation may be permitted on board as passengers; all operators will declare the identities of all passengers on non-revenue charter flights in the appropriate general declaration forms prior to obtaining ATC clearance.

“Nigerian carriers operating revenue passenger charter flights will be required to have a current non-scheduled or scheduled operator permit with operations manual that contains flight duty time limitations, which will be strictly monitored on regular basis.”

Foreign airlines are competing to ply Nigeria’s airspace because of its safety – NAMA

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has stated that the nation experienced a 12.8% increase in aircraft movement in the first six months of the year 2012, thereby affirming the safety of the nation’s airspace.

The statement is coming on the heels of allegations that foreign airlines are avoiding flying the Nigerian airspace en route other countries.

According to the Managing Director of NAMA, Mr Nnamdi Udoh, foreign airlines like British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airline, Air France and Lufthansa Airline are currently flying the Nigerian airspace frequently and they are asking for more slots.

“They would not be asking for more frequencies if the nation’s airspace was unsafe” he inferred.

Mr Udoh also noted that more foreign airlines such as Etihad Airways are bidding to launch their services in the Nigerian airspace, stating the federal government is only restricting their services to encourage local airlines ply the same routes.

He also revealed that revenues earned the international flyers increased by 5 per cent there by leading to another increase of 8 per cent in passengers.