By Tony Akowe, Abuja
The House of Representatives has expressed shock over claims by Nigerlink Insurance Brokers Plc it insured two grounded Dornier 228 aircraft belonging to the Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS) without knowing they were not operational.
The two 14- seater Dornier 228-101-5N-AUZ(FER) and 228-101-5N-AUW (FER) were insured at N198, 500 million in 2015 and 2016 with a premium of N13,409,800m already paid to the firm.
The House Public Accounts Committee looking into the Auditor General’s reports was particularly furious with Head of the Technical Department of the Insurance Company, Nse Uyo Nya, when he said the firm only carried out physical inspection on the two aircraft without any technical inspection to determine their airworthiness as required by the Aviation regulations.
Asked to present the certificate of airworthiness of the Aircrafts issued by the authorities concerned, he claimed that the Pilot of the aircrafts who was an employee of the Nigeria Immigration Services and who was present during the physical inspection only confirmed the airworthiness to him verbally.
He told the committee the company visited the Dornier premises at the Old Kaduna Airport where the aircrafts were packed to carry out the physical inspection.
“We carried out a physical inspection with the help of the Pilot named Kiena who took us round the Aircraft and confirmed to us that the Aircraft are airworthy and that he just came back from a border patrol with one of the Aircraft,” he stated.
Concerned members of the Committee expressed doubts over claims of the representative of the Insurance company as it was unprofessional to have carried the policy without following due process.
The members insisted the Insurance Company received the N13.4 million premium under false pretence thereby defrauding the Federal Government.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Wole Oke (PDP, Osun), however set up a sub-committee to further investigate the matter and interact with the NIS, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and the Insurance underwriter.
Oke vowed the committee would do everything possible within its power to get to the roots of matter as the Comptroller General of the Nigeran Immigration Services had earlier given an evidence before the Committee that the two Aircraft were grounded at the time the insurance policy was signed.