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Reps probe insurance of grounded NIS aircraft

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By Tony Akowe, Abuja

The House of Representatives has expressed shock over claims by Nigerlink Insurance Brokers Plc that it insured two grounded Dornier 228 aircraft belonging to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) without knowing that the aircraft were not operational.

The two 14-seater Dornier 228-101-5N-AUZ (FER) and 228-101-5N-AUW (FER) aircraft were insured for N198.500 million in 2015 and 2016 with a Premium of N13,409,800 already paid to the company.

The House Public Accounts Committee, which is examining the Auditor General of the Federation’s (AGF’s) reports, expressed anger at the Head of the Technical Department of the insurance company, Nse Uyo Nya, when he told the committee that the company only carried out physical inspection on the two aircraft without any technical inspection to determine their airworthiness, as required by the nation’s aviation regulations.

Asked to present the certificate of airworthiness of the aircraft issued by the authorities concerned, Nya claimed that the pilot of the aircraft, who was an employee of the NIS and who was present during the physical inspection, only confirmed the airworthiness to him verbally.

The departmental head told the committee that the company visited the Dornier premises at the Old Kaduna Airport where the aircraft were packed to carry out the physical inspection.

He said: “We carried out a physical inspection with the help of the pilot, simply named Kiena, who took us round the aircraft and confirmed to us that they were airworthy and that he just came back from a border patrol with one of the aircraft.”

Concerned members of the committee expressed doubts over the claims of the representative of the insurance company, saying it was unprofessional to have carried the policy without following due process.

The members insisted that the insurance company received the N13.4 million premium under false pretence, thereby defrauding the Federal Government of the amount.

House Committee Chairman Wole Oke (PDP, Osun) set up a sub-committee to further investigate the matter and interact with the NIS, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the insurance underwriter.

Oke said the committee would get to do root of matter as the NIS Comptroller General had given evidence before the committee that the two aircraft were grounded at the time the insurance policy was signed.

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