House Probes $500m Failed NigComSat Satellite, Insurance Premium

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Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Insurance and Actuarial yesterday commenced investigation into the N180.9 million insurance premium allegedly paid for the failed Satellite 1 project which was launched in 2011 as well as Satellite 1-R for which Nigeria obtained $500 million Chinese loan.

The committee has given seven days ultimatum for submission, insisting that NigComsat must submit all documents on insurance transactions.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Darlington Nwokocha, who presided over the hearing, queried two managing directors of Fasahal Insurance and A & G, who were engaged by NigComSat management over alleged irregularities surrounding the unilateral appointment of the insurance brokers without due process.

Nwokocha said the committee’s investigation was premised on about six petitions written by concerned Nigerians within the insurance industry and those working within some of the organisations invited.

He added that the investigative hearing was aimed at unraveling issues bothering on infractions, impunity perpetuated by the operator, who allegedly influenced the contract as well as financial recklessness entrenched in the multi-million dollar satellite contracts.

While responding to questions on the appointment of Lead insurance company, NigComSat Managing Director/CEO, Abimbola Alale, argued that the Chinese company which manufactured the satellite unilaterally nominated the United Kingdom-based insurance firm to insure NigComsat 2 which was launched in 2014.

On her part, NigComSat Legal Adviser, Mrs. Alina Okpalefe, who affirmed that she was the secretary of the project committee, disclosed that no legal official accompanied the delegation to China where the contract was sealed in 2011.

However, in his presentation, the Managing Director of Fasahal Insurance Company, Mr. Frederic Adejo, disclosed that NigComSat introduced him to the Lead Insurance firm.

Responding on the actual premium paid for the satellite project, Adejo, who disclosed that the sum of N180,992, 836.35 was paid in 2014, argued that he shopped for Marsh outside the Nigeria.

He, however, denied the knowledge of the relationship between Marsh and Nigeria with the Lead Insurance Company.

On his part, the Managing Director of A & G Insurance Company, Mr. Abiola Ajibowu, informed the committee that all relevant documents required by the committee have been transmitted.

He disclosed that the only evidence of the contract is the policy document which contained the value of the asset, premium paid and the period of the insurance policy.

Reacting, members of the committee frowned at the blatant breach of extant regulatory laws, and demanded relevant documents on various transactions carried out among the parties.

Consequently, the Committee Chairman, Nwokocha, demanded bank statements on all the transactions and schedule insurance policy, adding that there is no classified information that should be hidden from the parliament.