…send distress signal on airline’s health
Staff of Aero Contractors have sent out a distress cry to the management of the Assess Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), urging the company to rescue the airline from the brink of bankruptcy allegedly been manipulated by some powerful cabal in the management of the company.
In an eight paged letter written by the unions in Nigerian domestic carrier and signed by the General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Olayinka Abioye and his Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) colleague, Rotimi Kehinde the unions implored AMCON to investigate its present representative alongside the board members of Aero.
The Unions in their letter alleged numerous fraudulent practices and embezzlement orchestrated by the management of Aero, the Board of Aero and AMCON representative calling for a forensic Audit to be carried out with the intervention of ICPC or the EFCC to look into how tax payers’ money invested in Aero has been embezzled by a few individuals.
The unions said that AMCON took over the loans of Aero from Eco bank at an undisclosed discounted rate, and made a decision to invest in Aero to turn the fortunes of the airline around, according to them, unfortunately there were a lot of middle men who just wanted to use Aero as a front to siphon tax payers money from AMCON.
The union alleged,” These people who were majorly AMCON senior management staff seconded to the board of Aero with Aero management devised various ways of siphoning money from AMCON in the name of Aero. Those management staff in Aero who did not cooperate with their plan were either sacked or advised to resign. Some of the ways they orchestrated to siphon tax payers monies out of AMCON in the name aero are listed below.”
“N266M (Two Hundred and Sixty Two Million Naira) was paid in the name Austen Peters & Co and the monies transferred to one Alpine Gates Company for alleged Negotiated settlements fee to AMCON as consultancy fee. On further investigation it was discovered that this money were just being siphoned from aero in the name of consultancy fees and passed back to a beneficiaries in AMCON.”
“$250.000 (Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars) was paid twice in favour of Bayo – Negotiation &Finalization of restructuring with AMCON and was also reflected on our invoices as general vendor for consultancy fees. These monies were taken away by AMCON staff even while the company was undergoing serious cash crunch.”
“AMCON claims to have reinvested almost ten billion Naira in Aero since taking it over sometime in 2011 but this monies have always found their way back to the pockets of private individuals who go abroad to negotiate aircraft lease without any technical experience and even most times over bloated lease rates which being a burden on the company.”
“Over a million dollars was paid to Wall & Ace as legal fees to advice management on industrial dispute which should ordinarily have been settled by it human resource department. Most of these monies were paid in dollars as against the CBN act that prohibits indigenous transactions to be paid in dollars. “
“Recently 9 million dollars was transferred to a company, Embraer for the purchase of aircraft, only for the staff to be told after a few months that the deal has been called off by AMCON and the monies trapped with Embraer. We have no idea how such money could just be lost and yet all still count as Aero indebtedness to AMCON.”
“A lot of proxy companies were open to serve the sole purpose of milking the company dry. One of such firms is Skybourne Logistic created to take over all the employees of aero and manage them at a cost of extra 25%, but these was resisted by the unions which lead to the dismissal off all staff and closing down of the company in march 2013. But the senate and industrial court upturned the decision. “
“Skybourne Logistics was also collecting N980 (Nine Hundred and Eighty Naira) per boarding pass which should ordinarily cost less than N25 (Twenty Five Naira) a piece, this amounts to over 60 Million Naira monthly until the unions fought for the deal to be cancelled and it was reduced to N250 and after much pressure finally to N130 which it is today”
“Another Proxy contract was Greater Washington Logistics which was collecting 70 percent of our total cargo and ancillary revenue from excess and giving us 30 percent but after the unions exposed and fought for it to be reviewed, it was reversed we keep 70 percent while they keep 30 percent.”
“There is also a case where the Cross River State Government paid Four Million dollars to Aero in 2013 to service their Dash-8-200 which they purchased from the Rivers State Government to operate into Obudu Cattle Ranch. This money was shared between Aero management and AMCON representatives in Aero Board. Currently Aero is undertaking the repairs with money made from scheduled services, while those who shared this money walk free.”
The Unions hence said there was an urgent need for a proper management team of technocrats and upright characters to take over the management of the company and look into all the injustices in the system.