Controversy Trails NCAT Failed Aircraft Contract

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Chinedu Eze

The Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria may be mired in controversy over alleged failure to abide by the agreement reached with Diamond Aircraft of Vienna Austria for the supply of 20 trainer aircraft one year after the deal was struck

NCAT ordered the said aircraft from Diamond Aircraft of Vienna Austria, which had already produced the first batch of five aircraft. It was gathered that the school has yet to take delivery of the airplanes due to its failure to complete payment for the aircraft.

THISDAY learnt that the Nigeria’s representative of the aircraft manufacturer, Interjet Nigeria Limited, through which the contract was sealed, has threatened to sue NCAT if it fails to take delivery of the airplane in line with the contract terms.

The Managing Director of Interjet, Mr. Seun Peters, said the aircraft, DA42-IV has not been delivered because NCAT was yet to meet the conditions of the agreement, although the aircraft had been manufactured and as they are yet to be put into use they have to continue to undergo maintenance 14 months after they have been produced.

However, the company said out of the five aircraft in the first batch manufactured solely for NCAT, four had been sold to another company, remaining one that could be delivered to NCAT it if meets its payment obligations.

Peters told journalists in Lagos that the airplane was one of the five aircraft the aviation college had ordered for but reportedly paid less than 15 per cent of the contract sum.

He also said the aircraft maker had written a letter to the management of NCAT on the need to complete the execution of the contract or face a legal action.

“What we want is the specific execution of the contract; pay us what we are due, which is over 85 per cent of the contract sum. We may be forced to take a legal action if the contract is not executed. The delivery was meant to be June 2015 but NCAT just went blank,” Peters said.

He said although all the five trainer airplanes (three units of DA40 NG and two units of DA42-VI) had been produced, but the money which NCAT paid in naira when the exchange rate was about N180 to a dollar, could not meet the agreed sum of money in dollars when the local currency began to plummet in value.

He also dismissed the allegation that Interjet was not a dully registered company to have secured the contract on behalf of Diamond Aircraft.

“We’ve been in business since 2010. Some say we’re not registered. Whoever doubts our status can check with the CAC. We’ve supplied two aircraft and a simulator to the Nigerian Airforce,” he said.

An organisation known as Transparency Initiative recently petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari alleging corruption in the NCAT- Diamond Aircraft Manufacturing Company deal. The petition, which was jointly signed by Nnaemeka Amaechina, George Nwahajioke and Taiwo Adegbite, had alleged the College leadership illegally awarded contracts, split a re-fleeting contract for trainer aircraft awarded to a company in Lagos.

Peters said after the request for the supply and the contract was signed in 2013, it was the following year that the Bureau of Public Procurement approved the project with the issuance of a ‘Certificate of no Objection’.
He added that the only payment was made in 2015 and this was after what he called a presidential approval was received.

It was learnt that the process of re-fleeting the institution commenced under a former Rector of NCAT, Capt. Chinyere Kalu. Capt Samuel Caulcrick who succeeded Kalu continued with the procurement process for all the projects commenced by his predecessor.