Former finance director of defunct AirNigeria, John Nnorom, has given a graphic details of how the airline’s CEO, Jimoh Ibrahim, diverted the N34.5bn bailout the airline received from the federal government.
AirNigeria was one of the10 airlines benefited from the N120bn intervention fund injected into the aviation sector in 2011 but was grossly mismanaged.
The Senate committees on Aviation and Anti-corruption is currently probing the N120 billion allocated to the airlines from the entire N500 billion intervention fund.
Jimoh Ibrahim’s AirNigeria stopped operation in 2012, less than a year after receiving the bailout.
And at the hearing on Monday, Mr. Nnorom, who had an inside knowledge of how the defunct AirNigeria spent the bailout said, “The N34.5 billion drawn from the fund by the airline was diverted to other personal business by the owner of the Airline, Jimoh Ibrahim.
“The very moment the N34.5 billion intervention fund was paid into the Airline’s account with United Bank for Africa, UBA, it disappeared into one of the private accounts of the owner without any amount from the fund injected into the airline, paving the way for its eventual collapse.”
Corroborating Nnorom, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, said in veiled reference to Jimoh Ibrahim, “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.”
Meanwhile on Monday, a Federal High Court in Lagos granted an interim injunction to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria(AMCON) to take over some assets belonging to Jimoh Ibrahim, over an alleged indebtedness of N50bn
His assets that were affected by the seizure order included NICON Investment Limited and Global Fleet Oil and Gas
Others are; Nigeria Re-Insurance Company Plc, NICON Insurance Company Plc, Nigeria Stockbrokers Limited and NICON Trustees Limited.
The freezing order also affects all bank accounts held and/or maintained by NICON Investment Limited, Global Fleet Oil and Gas Limited and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim.