Thursday, June 23

N120bn Aviation Fund: Drama As Jimoh Ibrahim Denies United Bank of Africa

N120bn Aviation Fund: Drama As Jimoh Ibrahim Denies United Bank of Africa

Jimoh Ibrahim

Nigerian billionaire and business magnate, Jimoh Ibrahim was engaged in a drama at the Senate with leading commercial bank, UBA over the acquisition of loan.

There was a mild drama at the investigative public hearing on the alleged mismanagement of the N120bn Aviation Intervention Fund organised by the Senate Committee on Aviation on Wednesday when the Chairman of the defunct Air Nigeria, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, denied collecting N35.5bn from the Bank of Industry, Punch reports.

But members of the committee and other stakeholders watched with amazement as the Group General Counsel for United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Samuel Adikamkwu, corroborated the position of a former Executive Director of Finance of Air Nigeria,  Mr. John Nnorom, that Ibrahim actually applied and obtained the loan through UBA.

Ibrahim’s former employee, Nnorom, told the committee that he did due diligence on the loan and secured necessary documentation, and decided to be servicing the loan with N228m monthly for nine months before the airline collapsed.

He alleged that the diversion of the fund to other ventures led to the collapse of the airline. Nnorom stated, “The very moment the N35.5bn intervention fund was paid into the airline’s account through the United Bank for Africa, it disappeared into one of the private accounts of the owner without any amount from the fund injected into the airline, paving the way for its eventual collapse.

“The Aviation Intervention Fund was taken by Air Nigeria. In my capacity as the executive director of finance, I needed documents to pay and I did due diligence and I discovered that Air Nigeria actually took the loan.”

He added, “Jimoh Ibrahim said he did not take a loan. He said he acquired Air Nigeria and paid the money 100 per cent and that he was given a clean bill by UBA. But you cannot finance a loan if it is not bad after some time.

“The question is how that loan entered the account of Air Nigeria again. It is the intervention fund that was transferred back to UBA, which the bank is now servicing even after the airline was no longer in existence. I paid the loan, about N228m, for about nine months.”

But Ibrahim argued that the BoI did not give him any loan, but that it was UBA that actually applied and obtained the loan, which had nothing to do with Air Nigeria, because the money that was used to resuscitate the defunct airline was sourced from his conglomerate.

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