AMCON Explains What Happened To Arik Air’s 3 Aircraft After Takeover

9 months ago
2 mins read

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has refuted the claim that it carried out illegal sale of the three aircraft and spare parts belonging to Arik Air after it took over the airline in 2017. The planes in question are Q-400, CRJ-1000 and CRJ-900.

It explained that contrary to the allegation made by the founder of Arik Air, Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, the aircraft purportedly acquired on loan by the Export Development Canada (EDC) were taken over by their foreign owner who opted to sell them off.

AMCON made this known in a statement issued by its media consultant, SY&T Communications, adding that three companies owned by Arumemi-Ikhide owed it a total of N400 billion before the takeover. Aside from Arik, the other firms are Rockson and Ojemai Farms.

READ ALSO: Arik Air: AMCON Denies Court Verdict Granting Access To Founder

The statement stressed that rather than engage in “fruitless campaigns of calumny,” Arumemi-Ikhide should approach the corporation for the payment of the loans.

While distancing itself from the sale of the aircraft, AMCON said Arumemi-Ikhide had approached Bombardier, a Canadian company, to purchase planes for his aviation business and approached EDC to grant loans to support the purchase request. EDC serves as the export bank to support the production and export of made-in-Canada goods.

The corporation said EDC agreed on an acceptable structure to the lending requests taking into consideration Nigeria’s country risks, adding that the Canadian company agreed to extend loans to an entity called JEM Leasing Limited towards meeting Arik’s equipment needs.

It added that the company was registered as a special purpose company in a tax haven, while Arik had no shares in it. JEM Leasing Limited reportedly purchased two Bombardier Q-400 aircraft with one spare engine and one Bombardier CRJ-1000 aircraft for Arik Air in the deal, which were pledged to EDC.

AMCON added that JEM Air Limited was fully responsible for paying off the loan on the two planes acquired, adding that the Irrevocable De-Registration and Export Request Authorisation (DERA) were duly executed in favour of JEM Leasing and EDC. These, it said, were duly noted by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

According to the statement, Arik had paid lease sums directly to EDC in settlement of the loan obligations of JEM Leasing Limited to EDC, maintaining that Arumemi-Ikhide, on behalf of Arik (pre-receivership), had approached the Federal Government of Nigeria for a waiver of customs duty on the planes, which was granted.

AMCON however regretted that due to Arik’s financial difficulties, pre-receivership, the management of the airline defaulted on the lease obligations related to the Q400 and CRJ 1000 aircraft.

The statement read in part: “Post-receivership, the receivership team, after initial struggles with meeting lease rentals on the planes, decided to exit the CRJ line of planes. It further agreed not to interfere with EDC’s mortgage rights over the CRJs.

“To come to the decision, the receivership team took into consideration the history of technical availability of the planes, the lack of capital by Arik to buy or effectively overhaul engines, and the need to reduce the complexity of Arik’s operations with several aircraft types in the fleet. An independent valuation of the planes by a specialist international company was conducted.

“EDC agreed to write off Arik’s outstanding lease obligations on the CRJ 1000 aircraft owed to JEM Leasing Limited, which is under its control. Compared to their valuation, this was a good deal for Arik.

“EDC confirmed in a letter dated April 21, 2023, that they sold the two CRJ900 aircraft. The decision to sell was made by EDC, not the receivership team of Arik. Regarding the CR1000 aircraft, EDC negotiated with a buyer who chose to dismantle it into its constituent parts.”

AMCON further disclosed that JEM Leasing Limited, the alleged owner of the CRJ aircraft, had confirmed this in a letter dated May 5, 2023 that it sold the plane to a new owner who decided to dismantle the plane.


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