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Senate Probes N10 billion Debt Owed FAAN By Prominent Nigerians

Source: EBUBECHI EMMANUEL - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, May 25, (THEWILL) - Senate has opened an inquest into the circumstances leading to the accumulation of over N10 billion debt owed the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) by concessionaire companies owned by certain prominent Nigerians.

Already the Senate Committee on Aviation led by Senator Anyim Udeh has directed FAAN to forward to it list of the high profile debtors and the concession agreement for further action. The panel threatened to make the list public.

At a meeting Friday between the Senate panel and the FAAN team led by the Managing Director of the Authority, Richard Aisuebeogon facts emerged that the authority is collapsing under the weight of the heavy debt owed by the companies belonging to prominent Nigerians.

Aisuebeogon said the prominent Nigerians include former state governors, former ministers, federal legislators and other influential Nigerians.

He told the panel that the defaulting companies which are mostly those under agreement with FAAN to collect revenue including port charges, airline fees and other levies have not been remitting their collections to government coffers.

The panel was enraged when FAAN said it had received orders from the ministry three months ago to recall one of the companies Pan Express which the Authority had last year sacked when it was not forthcoming with payment plan for its N582 million debt.

FAAN officials at the meeting insisted that they are not comfortable with the agreement between government and the companies which allows them to take two percent of the revenue collected as well as 35 percent of the difference between the revenue generated by the Authority in 2007 and that generated by the companies from 2008 when they started operation saying such should be reviewed.

Insisting that the funds must be recovered and the agreement reviewed, the panel directed FAAN to furnish it with details of the agreement as well as names of the owners of the companies for further action.

Senator Udeh said the Senate would get to the root of the matter and will not hesitate to sanction the company owners.