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EFCC Swoops on Aviation Officials

Posted by From Josephine Lohor in Abuja, Ndubuisi Francis in Lagos on 2005/12/14 | Views: 443 |

EFCC Swoops on Aviation Officials


The ongoing cleansing of the aviation sector has taken a new dimension as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), began a forensic audit of the sector as well as several past and present aviation officials in order to unravel and punish corrupt and inept officials.

Probes $100,000 bribery scam • Senate insists Borishade must go

The ongoing cleansing of the aviation sector has taken a new dimension as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), began a forensic audit of the sector as well as several past and present aviation officials in order to unravel and punish corrupt and inept officials.

Topmost on the list of the EFCC investigations are the suspended Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Aviation, Mr. Tommy Oyelade, and the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Esai Dangabar, who are being probed over alleged shady contract awards and issuance of airline licences.

The crimes watchdog is also said to be probing bribery allegation of $100,000 which some officials in the ministry are alleged to be involved in.

Also, President Olusegun Obasanjo has directed the Minister of Aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade, to report directly to him, on a monthly basis, the progress being made on all the resolutions taken during the Presidential Forum on Aviation he convened Tuesday.

According to information, the indefinite suspension on Monday of Oyelade and Dangabar may not be a direct fallout of last Saturday's Sosoliso air crash in Port Harcourt contrary to earlier speculations.

Top ministry and Presidency sources told THISDAY yesterday that the suspension was occasioned by their alleged involvement in shady contract awards and approval of airline licences which in their desperate move to cover some tracks led to falsification of documents.

Oyelade and Dangabar, it was gathered, had in their bid to give the award of the contracts a semblance of propriety either signed some of the documents themselves on behalf of the immediate past Aviation Minister, Mallam Isa Yuguda, or taken it to Yuguda to sign even when he was no longer in office.

The documents were also allegedly backdated to tally with their design in order to help them to cover glaring pitfalls that might rope them in.

The two suspended top ministry officials were said to have allegedly resorted to this measure of seeking the former minister's endorsement after it became clear that the deals in question were going to be a subject of scrutiny by the EFCC.

Oyelade and Dangabar allegedly intensified their moves to dot the I's and cross the T's, capitalising on last week's visit of the incumbent minister, Dr. Babalola Borishade's to Canada for a conference of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The Presidency was reported to have gotten wind of the alleged doctoring of the documents concerning the contracts and approval of airline licences while it was going on.

President Obasanjo, it was gathered, therefore ordered their indefinite suspension while the EFCC was called in to probe the suspended ministry officials.

EFCC, our sources hinted, is already investigating the alleged involvement of Oyelade and Dangabar, including their personal accounts.

In a statement announcing their suspension, Senior Special Assistant on Media to President Obasanjo, Mrs Remi Oyo had said that Oyelade should hand over to the most senior director in the ministry since the minister was out of the country then.

It is instructive that President Olusegun Obasanjo had recently descended on the aviation parastatals, describing them as a cesspit of corruption.

Meanwhile, the President yesterday directed the Minister of Aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade, to report directly to him, on a monthly basis, progress report being made on all the resolutions taken during the Presidential Forum on Aviation he convened Tuesday.

He also directed the Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, to submit to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), a blue print on how to develop the nation’s inland waterways and fast track the development of the railway system.

The Minister of Information and National and National Orientation, Mr. Frank Nweke, who disclosed these while briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the weekly FEC meeting yesterday, also said that it is the President’s great concern about the aviation sector that has necessitated his fresh directives.

Nweke stated that “the President has directed that the Minister of Aviation will report to him parastatal by parastatal, facility by facility, airport by airport, progress that is being made, especially with respect to resolutions which were made during the Presidential Aviation Forum on a monthly basis. And he was very, very serious.

“What I am saying to you underscores the President’s pain about what has happened in two months in this country. It underscores his commitment in sanitizing the aviation sector”.

Nweke added that “Mr. President expressed concern about the inadequate attention other modes of transport apart from roads have received in the last couple of years. He said that it costs about 25 per cent of what it costs to transport goods by road through water and 25 per cent by road to transport by rail.

“The President directed that within the next couple of weeks, the Minister of Transport must report to Council with a definitive blue print for the development of the Inland Water ways and also a definitive action plan on how to fast-track what Government is doing in the rail sector”.

However, indications emerged yesterday that the Senate will refer its demand that the Aviation Minister, Dr. Babalola Borisade, resign his appointment over his (Borisade) inability to stem the spate of air crashes since he assumed office to President Olusegun Obasanjo for necessary action.

The Senate Committee on Media and Publicity chairman, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP, Cross River), who stated this yesterday, said the Senate resolution “will be sent to President Obasanjo for his information and necessary action.”

According to him, “the Senate has conveyed her views and the views of the majority of Nigerians to President Obasanjo as they concerned the person and office of the Aviation Minister.
“We expect him (Obasanjo) to act in line with the wishes of Nigerians,” Ndoma-Egba added.

The Senate had last Tuesday in a unanimous resolution demanded that Borisade should quit office as Aviation Minister on account of recent air crashes which had occurred since he assumed office as minister.


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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown