Nigerian airlines questioned by corruption agency

NIGERIA’S anti-corruption agency has launched an investigation into the country’s domestic airlines over their unpaid debts.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called in the heads of the airlines and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) – the regulatory body responsible for collection of revenue – for questioning.

The investigations have revealed that the airlines – Allied Air, Arik Air, Associated Airline and Top Brass Airlines – owe ?5billion (US$33 million) from unpaid ticket and cargo charges to national aviation agencies, charges that the NCAA should have recovered before now.

Apparently, there are a few irregularities over expenses the investigators want to take a look at.

Interestingly, earlier this month, Nigeria agreed to bail out those same struggling airlines. Muhammad Abdullahi, a spokesman for the Central Bank of Nigeria, said the move would allow the heavily in debt airlines to pay off debts to various banks.
“These airlines can now partake from the fund and those that are indebted to banks can refinance their loans and amortise them over a period of 10 to 15 years,” he added.

“This we believe will help put off a feared financial crisis in the aviation industry.”

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