Four top officials working for the Nigerian aviation regulator, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), are under investigation for alleged N2 billion fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating the fraud allegation and has arrested the four officials.
According to The Cable on Monday, 20 March 2023, the four officials arrested are Director, Finance and Accounts, Bilkisu Adamu Sani and Deputy General Manager, Treasury, Hart Benson Fimienye.
Also mentioned are the Deputy General Manager, management accounts, Obene Jenbarimiema Turniel, and General Manager, accounts and stores, Nathaniel Terna Kaainjo.
It was learnt that the arrest of Sani, Fimienye and Turniel was effected on Monday, but Kaainjo was reportedly arrested by officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday, 16 March.
The four officials were said to have allegedly paid themselves about N2 billion as Duty Tour Allowances (DTAs), which is payment for public servants’ lodging and feeding expenses during tours duly approved by an official authority.
Recall that an increment in Duty Tour Allowances was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for ministers, permanent secretaries and civil servants on grade levels (GL) one to 17 in 2022.
Prime Business Africa learnt that the new allowances took effect on 1 September 2022, and was made known by the chairperson of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Ekpo Nta, in a circular.
The arrest and questioning of the four NCAA officials come at a period four aviation unions sued the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for the concession of four airports.
Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, on behalf of the unions; Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals and the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, FAAN Branch, petitioned the court, stating that the minister and FAAN didn’t receive approval from the Federal, States and Local Governments before proceeding with the concern.
The airport being concession are the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State, the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
They made this known in a lawsuit dated March 14, 2023, which also conveyed their grievances regarding salary determination, as they accused the defendants of not factoring the provisions of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act (CAP F5) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Reviewed Conditions of Service 2021 in any manner whatsoever and howsoever.
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