EFCC seizes N1bn jet allegedly owned by Sherrif, to impound 2 others
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized an aircraft allegedly acquired by governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff.
The aircraft was impounded at the Maiduguri International Airport.
EFCC may also seize two other private jets at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja as part of the investigation which traced some looted funds to some former political office holders.
The Dornier aircraft 328 linked to Sheriff had been earlier impounded, but it resumed operations without EFCC’s clearance.
Upon sighting the aircraft in Maiduguri on Monday, after months of watch-listing, EFCC detectives swooped on the crew and seized it, The Nation reports.
The plane is marked N805PG and 5NBMH and allegedly belongs to Skybird Air, which has Mr. Samuel Ayodele as Managing Director.
An EFCC source said “We impounded the Dornier 328 on Monday following suspicion in the manner in which it was acquired.
“Our detectives are working on clues that the aircraft belongs to a former governor of Borno State but it is being used by a front. We are already looking into relevant records; we want to establish who actually owns it.
“We are tracking how and when the aircraft was bought, where it was purchased, the mode of payment and the sources of funds. This is definitely an international transaction; it is easier to trace the inflows and outflows from any account.
“There are also some petitions containing allegations against the former governor concerning the aircraft and some public funds. If the aircraft cannot be identified with the ex-governor, the EFCC will release it to the beneficial owner.”
Ayodele is said to have told detectives that the aircraft was originally with the defunct IRS Airlines, which bought it with a loan of about N948million from a bank.
The source quoted Ayodele as saying: “I bought the liability from the bank and took over the aircraft because IRS was not able to pay back the loan.
“It is a clean business. Since I graduated from school, I have been working in the aviation sector.”