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The Aviation Minister, on Wednesday, insisted that the procurement of the two armoured BMW vehicles at the cost of N255 million followed due process.
In a quick response to the query issued to her by President Goodluck Jonathan, Stella Oduah said that there was provision in the 2013 budget for the procurement of specialised equipment (including operational vehicles) to complement and, in some cases, replace obsolete ones. PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the two armoured BMW exotic cars were bought outside budget provisions, and in violation of procurement processes. But Mrs. Oduah maintained that there is always an annual budgetary provision for the replacement of obsolete, inadequate and unreliable monitoring equipment. “The NCAA (Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority) is charged with oversight responsibilities over all civil aviation operations in the country, including safety, security and strict compliance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices, SARPs, and Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, NCARs,” Mrs. Oduah stated in her response. “Towards the effective implementation of its statutory regulatory responsibilities, therefore, it is imperative that the NCAA is fully equipped with highly specialised tools and facilities, including adequate operational vehicles to cover all 22 national airports and over 400 airstrips.” The minister, however, failed to provide details of the cost of the two armoured BMW vehicles whose N255 million price has shocked Nigerians, with some civil society groups calling for her resignation. Mrs. Oduah said that with the NCAA being the regulator of the aviation industry, it often plays host to dignitaries from ICAO, IATA, US FAA, AFRAA, AFCAC BAGASO, CANSO, ACI and others making it necessary to have specialised operational vehicles. On Wednesday, President Jonathan set up a three-man administrative panel to investigate the armoured car scandal. The panel, which has two weeks to submit its findings, is to investigate whether the procurement of the vehicles for about N255 million followed due process or not. The panel is also to look into the main reasons for procuring the vehicles. In letter dated April 15, 2013, the NCAA officially requested authorisation from the Federal Ministry of Aviation to procure 56 operational vehicles through lease financing, according to Mrs. Oduah. This option was proposed to the ministry to enable the NCAA make 36 monthly payments based on receipts from Internally Generated Revenue, she added. “Based on the ministry’s approval, the NCAA invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) from all Banks in Nigeria for the financing of the said vehicles. EOI was adopted because the procurement is two sided. First, the financier would have to be selected before the supplier is determined. This is in line with procurement best practices,” Mrs. Oduah said. “On May 24, 2013, the response received from the various banks to the Expression of Interest, EOI, request was opened publicly and minutes of the opening exercise was duly documented. During the EOI opening exercise, NCAA got commendation from one of the Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, approved by BPP who were invited for the opening exercise. “The evaluation of the expression of interests was held on May 31, 2013 during which First Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC emerged most responsive. On the June 10, 2013 the above three banks were invited to submit Financial Proposals. Thereafter, First Bank emerged the highest rated responsive bidder. “Between June 20 and 25, 2013, invoices were received from various accredited motor vehicle dealers during which only Coscharis Motors Limited quoted for BMW Security Vehicles. “On June 28, 2013, NCAA Parastatal Tenders Board approved the selection of First Bank Ltd for the Lease Financing as well as Metropolitan Motor Vehicles and Coscharis for the supply of the vehicles. All necessary approvals were duly sought and obtained accordingly. “Between July 8, 2013 to August, 12, 2013 various meetings were held with First Bank Ltd, contract agreement was signed and necessary documentation executed,” Mrs. Oduah added. The minister further urged President Jonathan to note the need for the NCAA to be fully equipped with highly specialised tools and facilities (including operational vehicles) to enable the effective implementation of its statutory functions. She also maintained that the procurement of specialised operational vehicles was duly provided for in the NCAA budget and the need for adopting instalmental lease payments over 36 months.
Jonathan Appoints Three Man Committee To ‘Probe’ Aviation Minister Stella Oduah Posted: October 23, 2013 – 15:50 By SaharaReporters, New York
President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday set up a three-man administrative panel of enquiry to probe the embattled Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, over the purchase of two bullet-proof BMW cars worth $1.6m (about N255m) by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on her orders. Members of the panel are Alhaji Sali Bello, a former Head of Service of the Federation, who will serve as chairman; Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.), the National Security Adviser; and Air Vice Marshal Dick Iruenebere (Rtd.). Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said the panel would, among others, ascertain whether the procurement of the vehicles followed due process, ascertain the purpose of procurement and inquire into any other incidental matter. He did not say what others it would look into. The panel has two weeks to submit its report. Analysts say this is the first time that President Jonathan has shown any interest in the conduct of privileged government officials facing allegations of corruption. In the past, such highly placed officials as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, have faced serious and well-documented corruption allegations, but the President has ignored them all. “This probe is a triumph for the media, especially SaharaReporters which broke the story,” a newspaper columnist said in Abuja this afternoon. “The question is: Why Stella Oduah, and why now? What of all the other corruption stories broken by the media against various government officials since 2010 when Jonathan first assumed office? I think that spectre of the 2015 election, more than the need to do right, has pushed Jonathan into this. Does he suddenly give a damn?” Another analyst told SaharaReporters he consider’s the President’s response to be a gimmick. “Why did Jonathan not ask Mrs. Oduah to go on suspension while she is being investigated? How do you leave her in the same seat that she has allegedly been using to maneuver and manipulate? Jonathan is merely playing games and buying her time while they figure out how to ride this out.” Jonathan leaves for Israel tonight on what has been described as a pilgrimage. He will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and return to Nigeria next week. Mrs. Oduah did not attend today’s cabinet meeting.
Latest reports by Sahara Reporter, claims that Nigeria’s minister of aviation Stella Oduah who is still to recover from a N255 million bullet proof BMW scandal has been hit with yet a similar case.
The new case revealed that NAMA (Nigeria’s National Airspace Management Agency) has just bought 4 set of powerful Toyota Tundra vehicles and 4 limousine car for her.
Oduah who recently got the delivery of the 2 armoured BMW is on the verge of losing her job as anti corruption network vows to protest.
The Tundras are in addition to four stretch limousine cars that were allegedly purchased for the movement of VIPs.
Saharareporters obtained the photos of the Limousines, which were parked at the headquarters of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) grounds in Abuja today.
Efforts to get the NAMA spokesperson, Supo Atobatele, to comment on the fresh allegations proved abortive as he claimed he was driving and could not speak on the wheel. When later confronted with the facts, Mr. Atobatele denied the existence of the stretch limos claiming that NAMA is a “professional agency” that provides navigational aid to aircrafts flying within Nigeria’s airspace. He hung up and switched off his phone when further told that Saharareporters had the photos.
NAMA’s CEO, Nnamdi Udo, reportedly made the purchase and ‘donation’ of the Tundras to the Minister in June 2013. The four Limousines were received in the third week of June but have never been put to use.
Last week after SaharaReporters revealed the purchase of two BMW armored cars for the Minister, her aides and later the Managing Director of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Fola Akinkuotu, claimed the vehicles were meant for VIP movement, but a former lawmaker and leader of Anti-Corruption Network, Dino Melaye, told SaharaReporters today that it is the duty of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to transport international VIPs in Nigeria.
He also revealed that the most important Aviation inspectors are teams from the ICAO who already have a Nigerian office which handles all their transactions.
SaharaReporters could not confirm if the NAMA limos are armored. It is also unclear why NAMA, an agency believed to be cash-strapped, would need stretch limos that are normally used by celebrities, to ferry international VIPS.
Meanwhile, a high-level source has confirmed to SaharaReporters that the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, which Mrs. Oduah brags about as one of her achievements in office, provides epileptic service. Because it often breaks down, the objective of establishing a safer national airspace is said to have been compromised. Foreign airlines are said to rely on their built in navigational equipment for air safety within the Nigerian airspace.