The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has denied allegations of stolen N750 million from its coffers, as alleged by an online medium. The aviation agency, while describing the allegations as entirely false, said that no funds to the tune of N750 million were approved or even went missing due to fraudulent contracts, as alleged.
This was disclosed in a series of tweet posts by FAAN, through its official Twitter handle on Thursday, July 30, 2020.
An online medium had reported a stolen N750 million, following a fraudulent contract scheme that may have indicted top staff of FAAN. However, while speaking under conditions of anonymity, a highly-placed source within FAAN stated that the only procurement issue that was identified happened in February 2020.
According to tweet posts from FAAN, “Allegations of a stolen N750 million from the coffers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is entirely wrong, as no funds to the tune of any amount were approved or ever went missing due to a fraudulent contract.
‘’The Managing Director himself, discovered and queried some procurement documents in February 2020. When the answers to the queries were found unsatisfactory, an investigation was launched, the staff involved were suspended, and later replaced in their official capacities.
‘’The recommendations of the management investigation were forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Aviation in June 2020. All this is fully documented and in line with federal civil service procedures.’’
The statement also pointed out that some of the names being bandied around had no role in the failed procurement process. It encouraged investigative reporters to cross-check their stories and get factual information instead of smearing innocent people and settling personal scores.
The statement from FAAN says that the accusation of theft was just a ‘low and unsubstantiated blow’ that could have been better clarified instead of going all the way to run the organization down. It also reiterated that a failed attempt to undermine the integrity of the procurement process, is not a theft, just as there was never any theft.
Also speaking on the issue of half salary to members of staff as was also reported by the online medium, a source in FAAN said due to paucity of funds, management decided to ease the burden of expenditure for all staff in view of the big Sallah on Friday by paying half salary to all senior staff only, with the balance to be paid next week.
All FAAN junior staff were paid their full 100% salaries (that is GLs 1-7). It also stated that a notice to this effect was on all FAAN staff platforms since yesterday and the unions later got to know of it.
An online media report had alleged that some top officials of FAAN and some of their children had conspired to steal N750 million from the aviation agency by re-awarding old contracts that had earlier been awarded by the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.
They alleged that the fraud was carried out by staff of the procurement department with the help of officials of the account and audit departments.