‘Probe N8.4b aircraft re-fleeting contract’

Former President Goodluck Jonathan granted anticipatory approval to  the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) to award a $20, 396,  299.71 (N8.485b) contract for the re-fleeting of 20 aircraft.

A group, Transparency Initiative, has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the contract.

It alleged that the contract at the time had no Bureau of Public Procurement approval and Certificate of No Objection as required by due process.

It also claimed that the N8.4b contract was awarded to a company which was yet to be incorporated.

There were indications last night that the Presidency was already looking into the petition.

The management of NCAT was said to have provided documents to the presidency indicating that the contract went through due process.

A crisis broke out over the contract following the anticipatory approval of the former President  barely 37 days to his exit from office.

The affected trainer aircraft are 15 Diamond DA40NG and five Diamond DA 42NG

The approval was conveyed to the former Minister of Aviation on April 22, 2015.

One of the documents reads in part: “The Federal Executive Council ( FEC) suspended award of contracts from the first week of December 2014. Thus, the Honourable Minister of Aviation on 24th December 2014 sought the anticipatory approval of Mr. President for award of contract for re-fleeting of trainer aircraft(15 Nos Diamond DA40NG and five Diamond DA 42NG) and associated works in favour of Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited at a total contract sum of $20, 396,299.71.

“ Mr. President granted anticipatory approval on 21st April 2015 and the approval was conveyed to the Honourable Minister of Aviation on 22nd April 2015.

“Based on the anticipatory approval obtained, the college issued Letter of Award to Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited.

“Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited provided an Advance Payment Guarantee( APG) for the payment made to the company. The first APG issued in December 2014 was replaced with another APG in July 2015.

“On the 15th May 2015, the Federal Executive Council ratified the President’s anticipatory approval for the award of contract for the purchase of 15 Nos Diamond DA40NG and five Diamond DA 42NG aircraft with complete accessories and associated works for the re-fleeting of NCAT, Zaria in favour of Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited in the sum of $20, 396,299.71.

“ The valid Letter of Award of contract for re-fleeting of trainer aircraft is dated 24th April 2015. It was issued after obtaining Mr. President’s anticipatory approval and supersedes the letter Ref. NCAT. 11/652/Vol. I/23 dated 17th November 2014.”

Another document indicated that “the processes for re-fleeting of NCAT Trainer Aircraft commenced in 2005 while the procurement process started in 2013 with budgetary allocation of N300 million.

“BPP granted No Objection on 29th October 2014. Total payment amounting to N320 million wascprocessed in December 2014 but not released until 27th April 2015 after obtaining Mr. President’s anticipatory approval.”

But the Transparency Initiative asked the President to look at the alleged rot in NCAT.

It alleged that when the contract was awarded, it had “no BPP approval and Certificate of No Objection as required by due process”.

In the petition, signed by Nnaemeka Amaechina, George Nwahajioke and Taiwo Adegbite, alleged that the company which won the contract was yet to be incorporated at the time of the award.

The petition said: “The said contract for re-fleeting of trainer aircraft was awarded to Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited vide a letter of award from NCAT -Zaria dated 17th November 2014 with reference No. NCAT II/Vol.I/23.

“In the said letter, NCAT made reference to a non-existing Federal Executive Council approval as at the date contained in the said letter. The said letter was signed by the Head of Procurement and Secretary of NCAT-Zaria Tenders Board for the Rector/ Chief Executive.

”That  Interjet Nigeria Limited as at the 17th of November 2014 was not yet in existence and indeed the certificate of incorporation of Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited was only issued on 23rd June 2015 with RC 892261.

“Hence, the award of over $20, 396,  299.71 (N8.485b) contract was all anchored on illegality.”

But a document said the company which won the contract was already incorporated as Interjet Maintenance Limited  but only changed its name to Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited with the approval of the Corporate Affairs Commission ( CAC).

“ Interjet Maintenance Limited changed their name to Interjet Nigeria Limited with the approval of CAC. They are therefore one and the same company.”

But the Transparency Initiative asked the President “in your usual tradition to use your good offices to order a total investigation of facts contained in this petition by the appropriate government agency”.

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