Author Topic: AVIATION FUND: FG TO PAY N2BN INTEREST ON N6.5BN LOAN.  (Read 1649 times)

Offline furtune

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« on: July 04, 2008, 04:55:22 PM »

The N6.5bn loan sourced from a new generation bank by a former Minister of Aviation, Dr. Babalola Borishade, has so far attracted N2bn as interest.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Anyim Ude, made this known on Thursday while reacting to the absence of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman and his Justice counterpart, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, from the ongoing probe of the (mis)management of the N19.5bn Aviation Intervention Fund in Abuja.

The two ministers were to appear before the committee to explain the workings of the Bilateral Aviation Services Agreement (Account).They were initially billed to appear last Monday but did not on grounds of exigencies of state.

An angry Ude said, ?We cannot continue to wait for them. The BASA is important because there are millions of dollars in the banks and if the money was made available, Nigeria would have had no reason to take a loan from a commercial bank with high interest rate, of which we have paid about N2bn now as interest.?

It was learnt that Usman and Aondoakaa sent messages to the committee excusing themselves. While Usman was said to have travelled abroad, Aondoakaa was believed to be attending a meeting at the Presidential Villa.

Earlier, the Director-General, Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (Due Process Office), Mr. Emeka Eze, offered explanations about the role of the agency.

He told the committee that although he had not been appointed as Director-General at the time the N19.5bn was disbursed, he was not in possession of records that the funds had been utilised.

Eze said there were three stages of due process certification. The first is before a contract is awarded; the second, during the execution of contract; and the third at the end of the contract.

But while the committee continued the hearing, Borishade said he borrowed the N19.5bn from the Natural Resource Development Account and from a bank for the upgrade of the nation?s airports.

He explained that out of the sum, N6.5bn came from the bank at 14 per cent interest per annum, while the balance of N13bn was from the NRDA.

Borishade, however, said in his application for bail which was filed before the Chief Magistrates? Court, Abuja on Thursday, that the N13bn was released to the ministry after he had left office.

Also standing trial at the court with Borishade are another ex-Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, and a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Mr. Festus Iyayi.

Chief Magistrate Lamido Kadiri had on Wednesday, when the accused were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, turned down their oral application for bail.

He adjourned the matter till Friday(today) and advised them to formally apply for the bail.

In the formal bail application filed on his behalf by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria,Chief Afe Babalola, the former university teacher argued that as a four-time minister and someone who had never committed any offence , he would not escape if granted temporary freedom.

Borishade?s son, Temitope, deposed to a nine-paragraph affidavit attached to the bail application.

In the affidavit, Temitope said, ?My father told me and I verily believe that he is completely innocent of the allegations against him, and specifically informed me as follows:

That the subject matter of this charge which is N19.5bn alleged to have been misappropriated was for the execution of various critical projects for the improvement of infrastructures at the aviation industry;

That upon defence of the various critical projects by staffers of aviation industry at the Budget Office, the above stated sum was approved, and the Ministry of Finance was ordered to provide the funds urgently due to the precarious and urgent need to reactivate infrastructures at the nation?s airports at the time;

The Ministry of Finance proposed to then President(Chief Olusegun Obasanjo) that the Ministry of Aviation should source for the sum of N6.5bn from a consortium of banks while the remaining N13bn should be borrowed from the Natural Resources Development Account;

That my father, who is the second accused person in the case, was able to source for the N6.5bn at 14 per cent interest per annum, the best offer from all banks that showed interest at the time;

This sum of N6.5bn was used to open Letter of Credit in favour of the contractor who was to execute the project;

At this stage, about early November, 2006, my father was redeployed to another Ministry by the then President;

About 10 days after the redeployment , the balance of N13Bn sourced from the NRDA was paid to the Ministry of Aviation;

the accused/applicant (Borishade) knows nothing anymore about the lodgment earlier made, or how the N13bn later received by the Ministry of Aviation was lodged or disbursed until his arrest on Monday, June 30, 2008 by the EFCC.

While asking the court to admit him to bail, Borishade said that the offence for which he was charged was bailable.

He also said that he would not interfere with investigation (if any) because he was no longer a public officer and no more in a position to interfere with the course of justice.

He further stated that he had never been charged with any offence neither had he ever committed any crime as alleged by the EFCC.

He said that he was well known throughout the country and that as a holder of Commander of the Federal Republic, he would not jump bail if the application was granted.


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« on: July 04, 2008, 04:55:22 PM »


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