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Monday, October 21, 2013

Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah Going, Going,....To Return Later After Outrcy Over Purchase Of 2 $1.6m Armoured Cars Scandal Die Down

There are strong indications that Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah may be asked to step aside by the president.

Insiders however revealed the move wont be permanent, but a temporary measure for the outcry over the obscene purchase of two armoured luxury cars for her use to die down.

Mrs Stella Oduah has faced a barrage of condemnation and strident cry for her resignation ( and outright sack) for allegedly forcing a cash strapped aviation monitoring agency( NCAA) that couldn't upgrade equipments, train and hire staffers to acquire two luxury armoured cars valued at $1.6m for her personal use.

The purchases were discovered to be obscenely inflated - said to be far less than $800,000-, a development that fueled the outrage of an angry public.

Acquired from Coscharis Motors owned by popular business man, Mr Cosmas Maduak, the D.G of the N.C.A.A has attributed the high cost to the price tag placed on the Automobiles by the Coscharis.

Incensed stake holders and dumbfounded watchers had claimed a grand conspiracy of fraud with Maduka, the N.C.A.A top shot and Aviation Minister as players.

Allegations that the big purchase automobiles are missing are said to have strengthened suspicion against them.

The Presidency is being labelled weak and ineffective and aiding corruption by not taking a strong stance against the alleged fraud.

The Aviation Minister is one of the strongest backers of President Goodluck Jonathan and was the founder and promoter of  the grassroot campaign body, Neigbour 2 Neighbour that transformed Mr Jonathan to the darling of many during election.

Stake holders have threatened court actions and mass protests if Oduah and her accomplices are not sanctioned.

Sources confirmed to calm the growing unrest and still maintain the support of Oduah as a key member of the government, President Jonathan and his handlers are considering asking her to step aside for 'investigation to be carried out'...and return later to the her post or redeployed- based on public leaning to the matter then.

Some within the President's advisory group are advocating a sit tight move, that Mr President should not subscribed to 'media blackmail' to act.

information revealed the President's stance on the matter will be made known very soon.

Here is a background on initial report that revealed the major anomaly threatening the world of the Aviation Minister.

'SaharaReporters has obtained documents further exposing the depth of corruption and mismanagement of public funds at Nigeria’s Ministry of Aviation headed by Stella Oduah. One of the documents details how Ms. Oduah compelled the cash-strapped Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to purchase two armored BMW cars for the minister.

NCAA is the agency charged with ensuring the airworthiness of commercial planes flying within Nigeria’s airspace.

Two officials of the agency told
SaharaReporters that the NCAA did not have enough funds to upgrade equipment, send staff for critical training, and hire enough qualified staff. “Yet, all the minister is concerned about is to have two exotic BMW cars from the little money we have for operations,” one of the sources said.

'The documents obtained by SaharaReporters indicate that the transaction for the purchase of the two BMW vehicles started in June 2013. However, the request for delivery of and payment for the two vehicles was fast-tracked between August 13 and 15 2013. The transaction involved the NCAA, First Bank of Nigeria, and Coscharis Motors Limited.

In a letter dated August 13, 2013, J.D Nkemakolam of the NCAA sent a letter to the Managing Director of Coscharis Motors asking the company to deliver to the NCAA two BMW 760 armored vehicles based on a pro-forma invoice dated June 25, 2013 at the cost of N127, 575,000 ($796,846.21) each. The total amount for the two vehicles came to N255,150,000, or $1,593,687.31. The NCAA’s letter directed Coscharis Motors to deliver the vehicles with sales invoices, delivery notes, and attestation documents.

Our documents reveal that the payment for the vehicles was made into a First Bank of Nigeria account (number 2018912995 with sort code: 0111152303), according to a letter signed by Godwin Umeaka, Coscharis’ group financial controller.

'The two black BMW Li HSS vehicles had chases numbers WBAHP41050DW68032 and WBAHP41010DW68044 respectively. The two cars were delivered to the NCAA on August 13, 2013, where it was received by two store managers, F. Onoabhagbe and Y.A. Amzat (who is also the agency’s head of transport). On August 15, 2013, Sola Ogunsakin of the NCAA signed off to certify completion of the transaction.

'In an extensive investigation of the Aviation sector after three air mishaps in Nigeria’s airspace, SaharaReporters found a pattern of questionable expenditures authorized by the minister. Several insiders within the aviation industry have told SaharaReporters that Ms. Oduah and President Goodluck Jonathan had focused on the Aviation Ministry as a source for a series of corrupt activities.

“Under Mrs. Oduah, the ministry has carried out many big capital development projects. But what outsiders don’t know is that these projects are being used to divert big amounts into private pockets,” an aviation source said.

'Our sources disclosed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had investigated several corrupt practices in the aviation sector, but added that the anti-corruption agency never had the backbone to act on their findings due to political pressure from the Presidency.

Several sources at the agency told SaharaReporters that they were not aware of the whereabouts of the two BMW cars. Some of the sources stated that the cars were  handed to the minister who had converted them to private use.

Several interest groups have been demanding the removal of Ms. Oduah, citing her corrupt tendencies, mismanagement of aviation funds and incompetence. Under her watch, the Nigerian airspace has witnessed several air mishaps that claimed the lives of at least 140 people.

'A Presidency source told SaharaReporters that Ms. Oduah still retains the confidence of President Jonathan. She is a close associate of Mr. Jonathan, serving as the treasurer who handled funds for the Jonathan campaign during the 2011 presidential election. She also co-chaired the campaign group known as Neighbor-To-Neighbor.'

.....additional information

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