The N300bn aviation/power intervention funds meant to address operational challenges in the sector were diverted to Ghana and other sectors, the Senate heard yesterday.
The revelation was made during an investigative hearing on the disbursement and utilization of $40 million AFRIX loan and N86.5bn released by the federal government in 2011 for the rehabilitation and development of infrastructure in the aviation industry.
The funds were disbursed during former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to 10 airlines namely: Dana Air, Arik Air, Aero Helicopters, Kabo Air, Caverton Helicopters, Overland Airways, First Nation Airways, Chanchangi Airline and Air Shuttle Service.
Speaking during session, the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, said one of the airlines diverted the funds to Ghana.
“As soon as he got access to the money, he transferred huge sums of money to a company in Ghana, apparently to acquire a business in Ghana with the money meant to develop aviation in Nigeria. Then there were other transfers that were non- aviation related and they are in huge amounts,” he said.
But in his address, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said out of the N300bn earmarked for the Aviation/Power industry, only N120bn was released.
Emefiele, who was represented by Mudashiru Olaitan said 10 airlines benefited from the intervention fund which was disbursed through the CBN and the Bank of Industry(BOI).
He said the fund was approved by the Presidency and that N39.5bn had been repaid by the airlines that benefitted.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma gave the CBN 24 hours to provide the list of the beneficiaries of the loan.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said there was no document on the disbursement of the fund at his ministry.