In addition to the two new luxury helicopters ordered by President Goodluck Jonathan from the Anglo-Italian AgustaWestland at a cost of $40 million, as SaharaReporters reported earlier today, we have learned that the government made a deposit of another $9 million for a Hawker 4000 jet.
In 2012 budget an additional $12 million was budgeted to complete the purchase of the jet.
But that money is now tied up in court, as our investigation has revealed that the manufacturer, Hawker Beechraft, entered into bankruptcy proceedings in the US District Court of Southern New York last May.
Curiously, the purchase notice was initiated by one Group Captain Ma Yakubu, who gave away the $9 million using the address of “Nigerian Presidential Wing, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Presidential Air Fleet Abuja, Nigeria.” His phone number and email addresses were listed as follows: +234 8052088048 and Maminuyana@Yahoo.Com.
Our sources say this is highly unusual, as the purchase order would normally have emanated not from an airport, but from within the presidency, the Ministry of Aviation or the Nigerian Air Force.
Yesterday’s crash of a Nigeria navy executive Agusta 109E helicopter, which killed Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, former NSA Andrew Owoye Azazi and four others, while doing private errands for presidential aide Oronto Douglas, demonstrates how public property is routinely converted to private benefit especially in a corrupt administration.
The presidency currently has at its disposal about 11 jets, many of them running errands on a daily basis for privileged officials and their relatives. When those are not enough, they call for similar equipment that belong to the armed forces, the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, and similar offices.
“Yesterday, the naval helicopter was abused throughout the day, like a free taxi cab, until it simply fell out of the sky,” an analyst told SaharaReporters.
The two helicopters on order by Mr. Jonathan will cost Nigeria $40 million, but it is unclear how many similar equipment may be on order around the world, or have already been bought or delivered, because government officials often account to nobody. The tracking of most contracts is non-existent after they have been awarded.
SaharaReporters has written to Group Captain Yakubu in an effort to obtain further information about the aborted purchase of the Hawker 4000 jet.
The US District court has approved Hawker Beechcraft’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy as a slimmer corporation, also last week the court authorized the company to sell off its entire inventory of Hawker 4000 jets at $20 million each.