As the minister of aviation began a new spin today that the two BMW armored cars purchased by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for her use were done on "hire-purchase", Sahara Reporters has again found out that bribery was involved.
A highly reliable source has told SaharaReporters that the shady deal for the car was done entirely between Coscharis Motors Limited, one of Ms. Oduah’s private firms based in Abuja and First Bank of Nigeria.
"The NCAA was not even aware of the deal until the minister told them to sign that they had received two BMW cars," said our source.
After inking the deal, Coscharis Motors, sellers of the highly inflated automobiles, reportedly gave the Aviation Minister more than N112 million as k!ckbacks. Our source added that Cosmas Maduka, who owns Coscharis Motors, pocked N60 million for each of the two BMW cars.
An official at the NCAA corroborated the information that the agency was largely kept in the dark about the transaction. “We were never privy to the transaction and had not seen the cars even though our head of transport was made to sign the delivery note,” said the source.
The source added that the agency has still not seen the cars even after the scandal escalated.
Last week, an official of the NCAA, Fola Akinkuotu, spoke to the media and defended the purchase of the cars. Mr. Akinkuotu said the cars were for the ministry’s protocol pool for use in transporting foreign aviation dignitaries when they visit Nigeria. His explanation conflicted with the original statement by the minister’s spokesman, Mr. Obi, who had claimed that the cars were for Stella Oduah's safety.
A source at the NCAA disclosed that Mr. Akinkuotu felt tr!cked into facing the media on the scandal. “He had been told he would only appear beside the embattled minister, who was supposed to speak. Instead, he was asked to speak,” said the source.
Meanwhile, a source at the Presidency said President Goodluck Jonathan is not bothered at all about the fraud perpetrated by Stella Oduah, his Aviation Minister. Ms. Oduah had played significant roles in raising money and disbursing same to help Jonathan win the 2011 presidential elections.
Several Nigerians and diplomats have registered their displeasure at Jonathan’s continued retention of Oduah on his cabinet but he has refused to take any action and the woman is still in office.