Lawmakers suspect foul play, as Insurance firm collects N13m premium for two grounded NIS aircraft
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday grilled the management of Northlink Insurance Brokers Plc for providing insurance cover for two grounded aircrafts belonging to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
The aircrafts were said to have been insured for N198.5 million and for which a renewal premium of N13,409,800 was paid.
The insurance cover for 2015 to 2016 were for a 14-seater Dornier 228-101-5N-AUZ (FER) and 228-101-5N-AUW (FER).
The Committee 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 planes without technical inspection to determine their airworthiness.
When the committee asked for the certificates of the airworthiness issued on the aircraft. Nya said 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.”
Members of the committee were uncomfortable with the submission, expressing doubts over the claims, while also stating that it was against aviation regulations and that it was unprofessional to have carried out the policy without following due process.
They also alleged that from the submission, it was clear that the insurance company received the N13.4 million premium under false pretence, thereby defrauding the Federal Government of the amount.
The Chairman of the committee, Wole Oke, thereafter 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.
He also vowed that the lawmakers would do everything within their power to get to the root of the matter.
The Comptroller General of the NIS had earlier given evidence before the panel that the two aircraft were grounded when the insurance policy was done.