“Stolen” Aircrafts: Chevron role in the game

By Uche Mbah

Topbrass  Aviation Services, a local operator, is said to be in the middle of a scandal involving two Bombadier Aircrafts, Dash 8 Q300. Topbrass has leased the aircraft from Seagold Investment Limited. Headed by Roland Iyayi, an Aviation expert, Topbrass has been having a legal tussle with Seagold , over the ownership status of the two aircrafts with registration numbers 5N-TBB and 5N-TBC). Despite the tussle, the aircrafts were acquired through the Agencies of government allegedly for Aerocontractors, a company that has been taken over by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON. Apparently with the knowledge of the Nigeria Civil Aviations Authority, NCAA, the aircrafts, which has been parked at the General Aviation Terminals, GAT, mysteriously disappeared from its hanger.

However, two aircrafts were seen parked at the Aerocontractors maintenance hanger with the same technical specifications. They, however, have no registration number. Sources told this magazine that the aircrafts are expected to fly out of the Nigerian airspace for checks, after which they will be added to the depleting fleet of Aerocontractors.

The story is that an interested party from the presidency had acquired the aircraft on behalf of the airline ignoring the fact that the case is already in court.

Investors are worried that the shoddy way the aircraft is being handled may end up eroding the integrity of the government, particularly as it involves the rule of law. Recently, an Ikoyi High Court has served orders for contempt on the two major agencies involves-Federal Airports Authority, FAAN, and NCAA. Aerocontractors was also joined in the contempt suit.

Chevron appears to be the nexus connecting the two companies, having used both for offshore activities in Nigeria and Angola. Chevron has begun to process a five year lease term for the two aircrafts for Aerocontractors. It appears that Chevron is the one playing the piper before the intervention of an alleged presidency bigwig. Topbrass had paid $12 million in a 30-month lease tenure, in lieu of full acquisition of the aircrafts.

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