The management of Nigerian College of Aviation Technology( NCAT) has written the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and his counterpart in charge of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, on the row over the re-fleeting of 20 aircrafts at $20, 396, 299.71 (N8.485b).
The college insisted that due process was followed and a Certificate of No Objection issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
All the documents were also submitted to an investigative panel headed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Dr. Sabiu Zakari.
The outcome of the panel’s investigation was still being awaited by all the parties under probe.
In one of the documents obtained by our correspondent, the Bureau of Public Procurement through a letter BPP/S.1/ Vol. XII/14/095 of October 29, 2014 issued a Certificate of No Objection for the award of the contract.
The letter, signed by the former DG of BPP, Engr. Emeka Ezeh, said: “Please find attached Due Process Compliance Certificate of ‘No Objection’ for contract award in favour of Messrs Interjet Ltd with respect to the above project.
“The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), having examined your request and all the documents forwarded, confirms that the project has satisfied all due process requirements for issuance of a Certificate of ‘No Objection’ to proceed to seek Federal Executive Council (FEC) Approval for award of contract.
“Project cost as requested: $23, 340, 860.71 (Twenty-three million, three hundred and forty thousand, eight hundred and sixty United States dollars, seventy-one cents only) which is equivalent to N3, 623, 668, 625. 23 (Three billion, six hundred and twenty-three million, six hundred and sixty-eight thousand, six hundred and twenty-five naira, twenty-three kobo only) at CBN exchange rate of N155.25 to $1USD as at September 29, 2014, inclusive of all taxes.
“BPP reviewed project cost: $20,396,299.71 (Twenty million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand, two hundred and ninety-nine United States dollars, seventy-one cents only) which is equivalent to N3, 166, 525, 529.98 (Three billion, one hundred and sixty-six million, five hundred and twenty five-thousand, five hundred and twenty-nine naira-eight kobo only) at CBN exchange rate of N155.25 to $1USD as at September 29, 2014, inclusive of all taxes.
“Cost reduction: $2, 944, 561, 00 (Two million, nine hundred and forty-four thousand, five hundred and sixty-one United States dollars only) which is equivalent to N457, 143, 095.25 (Four hundred and fifty-seven million, one hundred and forty-three thousand, ninety-five naira, twenty-five kobo only.”
Also, the NCAT management claimed that the Federal Executive Council on May 20, 2015 ratified the anticipatory approval granted by ex-President Jonathan for the project.
The memo from the Cabinet Secretariat Office, signed by Dr. Henry Akpan, said: “Please accept the assurance of my highest consideration and esteem.
“Council considered memorandum EC (2015) 57 by the Minister of Aviation.
“Ratified the President’s anticipatory approval for the award of contract for the purchase of 15NO. Diamond DA40NG and 5NO. DA42/ aircraft with complete accessories and associated works, for the Re-fleeting of the Nigerian Collage of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, in favour of Messrs Interjet (Nigeria) Limited, in the sum of USD20, 396, 299.71 (Twenty million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand, two hundred and ninety-nine dollars, seventy-one cents), payable at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of payment, with completion period of 12 months.”
A group, Transparency Initiative, however, petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the contract. It alleged that the contract at the time had no Bureau of Public Procurement approval and Certificate of No Objection as required by due process.
The petition signed by Nnaemeka Amaechina, George Nwahajioke and Taiwo Adegbite alleged that the company which won the N8.4b contract was yet to be incorporated at the time of the award.
The petition read in part: “The said contract for re-fleeting of trainer aircraft was awarded to Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited vide a letter of award from NCAT -Zaria dated 17th November 2014 with reference No. NCAT II/Vol.I/23.
“In the said letter, NCAT made reference to a non-existing Federal Executive Council approval as at the date contained in the said letter. The said letter was signed by the Head of Procurement and Secretary of NCAT-Zaria Tenders Board for the Rector/Chief Executive.
“That Interjet Nigeria Limited as at the 17th of November 2014 was not yet in existence and indeed the certificate of incorporation of Messrs Interjet Nigeria Limited was only issued on 23rd June 2015 with RC 892261.
“Hence, the award of over $20, 396, 299.71 (N8.485b) contract was all anchored on illegality.”