Northlink Insurance Brokers Plc was grilled on Wednesday by the House of Representatives for insuring two grounded aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Immigration Service.
The grounded aircraft insured for N198.5m and for which a renewal premium of N13,409,800 was paid are a 14-seater Dornier 228-101-5N-AUZ (FER) and 228-101-5N-AUW (FER).
The House Committee on Public Accounts had particularly grilled the firm’s Head of Technical Department, Mr. Nse Nya, who told the lawmakers that the company only carried out physical inspection of the aircrafts without technical inspection to determine their airworthiness.
Since the insurance had covered 2015 to 2016, the committee had asked for the certificate of the airworthiness issued on the aircraft. Nya then told the panel that the pilot of the aircraft, who was an employee of the Nigerian Immigration Service and was present during the physical inspection only confirmed the airworthiness to him verbally.
Nya said, “To enable us effect the cover, we visited Dana Airways premises, old Kaduna Airport, Kaduna State, where the aircraft were parked. We carried out a physical inspection with the help of the pilot, Kiena, who took us round the aircraft and confirmed to us that the aircraft were airworthy and that he just came back from a border patrol with one of the aircraft.”
Several members of the committee were miffed by the submission, expressing doubts over the claims, stating that it was against aviation regulations and that it was unprofessional to have carried out the policy without following due process.
From the submission, the lawmakers alleged that it was clear that the insurance company received the N13.4 premium under false pretense, thereby defrauding the Federal Government of the amount.
Consequently, chairman of the Committee, Wole Oke set up a sub committee to further investigate the matter, during which the committee as a whole would interact with the NIS, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the insurance underwriter.
Oke vowed that the lawmakers would do everything within their power to get to the root of the matter, as the Comptroller General of the NIS had earlier given evidence before the panel that the to aircraft were grounded when the insurance policy was done.
Two former Minsters of Interior, the permanent secretary of the ministry and the retired Director of Legal Service, Mrs. Folakemi Adelore were also summoned by the committee, over a contract warded in 1999, to establish Combine Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Cards scheme by the NIS at $155bn.
Oke issued the summons based on an audit query by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation on the handling of the scheme.