Two former Nigerian ministers remanded in custody over corruption

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Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency has slammed corruption charges on two former aviation ministers and the former head of the country’s National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) over their alleged role in the disbursement of the 19.5 billion naira aviation intervention fund for the renovation of four international airports in the country (118 naira=US$1).

Former aviation ministers Femi Fani-Kayode and Babalola Borishade and ex-NAMA boss Roland Iyayi were arraigned at the Abuja Chief Magistrate’s Court Wednesday, following their arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and were charged with criminal conspiracy, breach of official trust, forgery and misappropriation.

All the accused pleaded not guilty and were remanded in EFCC custody till Friday, when their applications for bail are expected to be heard.

The arrested officials were alleged to have been involved in the inflation of some contracts awarded for the upgrading of the key airports.

They were arrested after they testified before a Senate panel investigating how the 19.5 billion naira intervention fund for the sector was spent during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Earlier last month, the anti-graft agency had arrested an Austrian contractor, Mr. Eider George, who got the allegedly inflated contract, and he is currently being prosecuted.

According to the Senate Aviation Committee, the controversial Safe Tower contract awarded to Austrian firm Avsatel for 6.5 billion naira might have been inflated to the tune of 5 billion naira.

Several committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives are currently investigating the activities of agencies in their areas of authority during as part of their oversight functions. Panapress .

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