BASL: It's a lie, FG owing us N132 billion
By Chinedu Eze â€¨
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has ordered Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) to pay the agency the sum of N1,968,634,455.95.00 as debt incurred on the services it rendered to the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
BASL built and is operating the domestic terminal, known as MMA2 under the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) concession agreement and according to regulations, FAAN, as government agency in charge of the airports in the country, must provide for the terminal security, a marshallers, fire cover and other services which BASL ought to pay for.
The General Manager, Corporate Communication of FAAN, Mr. Yakubu Dati, said the figure represents the total amount owed FAAN for services rendered the company as spelt out in the concession agreement since September 8, 2007 when it began operating the terminal, alleging that Bi-Courtney had rebuffed every attempt made by FAAN to recover this huge debt, including debt reconciliation meetings between officials of the two organisations.
These debts according to Dati, include Aviation Security, N45,604,085.74; Fire/Safety Cost, N36,649,223.96; Marshalling N2,125,065.54; Electricity Cost, N252,038,510.006; Maintenance Band, N200,000,000.00; five per cent Concession Fees, N726,900,069.00; REUT (Hotel), N97,200,000.00; SRC (Hotel), N9,720,000.00; Reut (Conference Hall), N73,860,219.00; SRC (Conference Hall), N7,386,021.00, totaling N1,968,634,455.95.
“It is important to state that since Bi-Courtney started operating the BOT terminal in September 8, 2007, it has refused to make its audited account available to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, in line with the terms of the agreement for that concession, despite several reminder letters,” Dati alleged.
But the spokesman of the BASL, Mr. Steve Omolale-Ajulo, denied the debt and said it was FAAN that actually owed the company, alleging that the agency owed Bi-Courtney N132 billion, being the charges generated at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the same airport since 2007 “because by our agreement, GAT belongs to us.”
Omolale-Ajulo insisted that all the revenues generated from the airlines operating at GAT, including that of Arik Air should revert to the company in accordance to its alleged ownership of the facility.
“FAAN owes Bi-Courtney N132 billion because Bi-Courtney believes it owns GAT and all the accruals from charges from the terminal belong to us. FAAN illegally built that structure (the new terminal) at GAT but the place belongs to us. We have gone to court over this issue and we won. They should hand over the terminal and pay us our money,” he stated.
Meanwhile, FAAN announced in a statement yesterday that the Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed an application filed by BASL, seeking to restrain FAAN and its agents from taking possession of the four-star hotel and conference centre at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, following FAAN’s termination of the leases on the two projects, due to alleged breaches committed by Bi-Courtney in the agreements related to the two projects.
Dati said in a statement that Bi-Courtney made the application without notifying FAAN, “in its traditional style of getting court injunctions behind the authority, in virtually all the cases involving the two organisations.”
FAAN recently announced the termination of two leases granted Bi-Courtney for the development and management of a four-star hotel and conference centre at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, due to alleged breaches committed by Bi-Courtney in the execution of the two projects, but Bi-Courtney said it already had stay of execution injunction from the court against the termination of the leases.