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House Quizzes Insurance Firm for Insuring Grounded Aircraft
By Udora Orizu
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts, (PAC) yesterday quizzed the management of an Insurance Company, Northlink Insurance Brokers Plc for insuring two grounded aircraft of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
The grounded 14-seater Dornier 228-101-5N-AUZ(FER) and 228-101-5N-AUW (FER) aircraft were insured at the sum of N198.500 million with a renewal premium of N13,409,800 paid, within the 2015/2016 Insurance Period.
The members of the Committee were angry when the Head, Technical Department of the Insurance Company, Mr. Nse Uyo Nya said that his company only carried out physical inspection on the two aircraft without technical inspection to determine their airworthiness as required by the nation’s aviation regulations.
When the committee demanded for the certificates of the airworthiness of the aircraft, Nya said that the pilot of the aircrafts who was an employee of the NIS, who was present during the physical inspection only confirmed the airworthiness to him verbally.
He said, ‘’To enable us effect the cover, we visited Dana Airways Premises, old Kaduna Airport, Kaduna State where the aircraft were parked. We carried out a physical inspection with the help of the Pilot, Kiena who took us round the aircraft and confirmed to us that the aircrafts are airworthy and that he just came back from a border patrol with one of the aircraft.”
But the lawmakers said that it was unprofessional to have carried the policy without following due process.
They insisted that with the submission, it was crystal clear that the insurance company received the N13.4 million premium under false pretence thereby defrauding the federal government of the amount.
In his ruling, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Wole Oke set up a sub-committee to further investigate the matter during which the committee would interact with the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and the insurance underwriter.
He assured that the committee would do everything possible within its power to get to the root of the matter as the Comptroller General of the NIS had earlier given an evidence before the committee that the two aircraft were grounded at the insurance policy were carried out.
Meanwhile, the committee also summoned two former ministers of the Ministry of Interior, the Permanent Secretary and a retired Director of Legal Service, Mrs. Folakemi Adelore over the contract intimated in 1999 to establish combined expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) scheme by the NIS.
Oke gave the order during the investigative hearing into the audit query raised by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) on the handling of the scheme.