Nigeria: Aviation Ministry in N6.5 Billion Scam

Date: 13-10-2009 4:56 pm (14 years ago) | Author: Teeco Designer
- at 13-10-2009 04:56 PM (14 years ago)
Abuja — Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court was yesterday told how fake companies bided for the N6.5 billion Safe Tower project, with officials of the Aviation Ministry signing documents as owners of the firms.

The revelation was part of the statement of a witness in the resumed trial of former Minister of Aviation, Prof. Babalola Borishade and three others for forgery and corruption.

The others are: former managing director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency(NAMA), Roland Iyayi, managing director of Avsatel Communication Limited, George Eider and T. A. Dairo who was personal assistant to the then Minister of Aviation.

The matter is before Justice Abubakar Umar.

At a resumed sitting yesterday, efforts by counsel to the prosecutor, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Chile Okoroma, to tender as exhibit, a letter from Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) purportedly written by Nnamdi Udoh, then General Manager of the agency, was vehemently opposed by defence counsel.

Borishade said through his counsel that the letter was not part of the original proof of evidence and therefore should be disregarded. Adegboyega Awomolo, counsel to the third accused said the prosecution counsel would need the leave of the court to tender the document as it would amount to ambush trial and therefore unfair to the accused persons.

However, Okoroma called on one of the witnesses in the case, Oseni Kazeem who made his submission before the court. Kazeem, in his submission, said in the course of his investigation, he came across a letter allegedly written by one Nnamdi Udoh of the NAMA to the minister on the need for the Safe Tower project.

He said however that Udoh denied authorship of the letter when confronted with it. He said he then took the signed letter and a specimen signature from Udoh to a forensic analysis which confirmed that the letter did not emanate from NAMA.

"I wrote to NAMA to authenticate the document, whether it emanated from NAMA, a report came from there that the report/document did not emanate from there," he told the court.

Kazeem also told the court that in the course of his investigations, he discovered that many of the companies that allegedly tendered to execute the project were a fake. For instance, one of the companies, Coman Nigeria Limited, which Kazeem confirmed was dully registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), however turned out to be a law firm.

"I found out that it was a law chamber. I enquired from the people there if they knew anything about that company, and they said no. Earlier before I left for Lagos to inquire about the company, the commission received a report from CAC, concerning the company and the status of the company. The report of CAC was a response to our letter asking about the company, Coman and its directors.

"So it was in the report of CAC that I discovered that one Femi Agbabiaka was a director of Coman," he said.

For the Global Aero Enterprise which also allegedly submitted bid for the same Safe Tower Project, Kazeem said in his investigation, he found out that the company was not registered by CAC: "I enquired from CAC and the response of CAC was that Global Aero Enterprises was not a registered company.

"To find out if Global Aero was in existence and if it had bided for Safe Tower Project at any point in time. I tried faxing to the address in Netherlands based on the addresses provided but could not succeed. I also saw a phone number on the letter head which I tried calling but it was not going through," the witness said.

Kazeem also revealed that an alleged report on the evaluation of the tender bid on the Safe Tower Project as signed by T. A. Dairo, indicated that five companies allegedly bided for the project. The companies were Coman Nigeria, Global Aero Enterprise, Vaalizer, Frequency and Avsatel Communication Limited, Australia and Abuja.

The last three jointly submitted bid according to report in the name of Avsatel Communication Limited. The report also suggested that there was a three man committee that evaluated the bid of the company. The committee, he said, was chaired by Gbenga Obadina, while according to the report Mr. T. A. Dairo allegedly acted as secretary while an engineer from NAMA, Udoh was a member.

However, the witness said when interviewed Udoh, he claimed that he was not aware of the committee and neither did he evaluate the bid.

"I interviewed T. A. Dairo concerning the report and he admitted signing it on the instruction of Prof. Borishade. He said it was only Avsatel that bidded and that the other two did not submit any bid. One Femi Michael represented Coman while Valivs Vinnes signed on behalf of Global Aero, the two people he said were officials of the ministry of Aviation," he further told the court.

The presiding judge, Justice Abubakar Umar adjourned the matter till today for further cross examination.

Source: Daily Champion

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Posted: at 13-10-2009 04:56 PM (14 years ago) | Addicted Hero