The EFCC quizzes Cosmos Maduka on Monday.
Law enforcement officials on Monday quizzed Cosmas Maduka, the chief executive of Coscharis Motors, the car firm accused of selling two armoured cars to aviation minister, Stella Oduah, at an inflated cost of N255 million.
Mr. Maduka was questioned for hours at the EFCC headquarters in Wuse 11 Abuja on Monday, and was later released, officials of the commission told PREMIUM TIMES.
No official of government, specifically the aviation minister, Mrs. Oduah, or officials of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, which was the conduit for the purchase, has of yet been quizzed.
A spokesperson for the commission, Wilson Uwujaren, declined to confirm those invited by the commission. He said he was out of Abuja.
“I’m not on ground at the moment; I don’t have that information yet. I’m not in Abuja at the moment.” Mr. Uwujaren said.
But our sources at the anti-graft body said Mr Maduka was questioned for hours, and that on Friday, officials of First Bank Limited, the financier of the contract, will also be interrogated in relation to the contract.
First Bank’s role in the transaction has remained controversial with the bank and the ministry of aviation making contradicting claims. While the bank said it provided N643 million loan to the NCAA to make the purchase, the NCAA said the arrangement was “lease financing”, while Mrs. Oduah said Thursday the credit was obtained as a “mere understanding and not obligation.”
The scandal has smeared several government agencies including the ministry of finance, which allegedly granted import duty waiver for the purchase, the Lagos State government which applied for the waiver, in exchange for a sponsorship deal with Coscharis.
The House of Representatives committee on aviation is already investigating the scandal, as is a presidential panel. Both committees are expected to submit their reports next week.
Appearing before the House committee last week, Mrs. Oduah denied wrongdoing, and said the cars were not purchased for her use. She however admitted approving the purchase.
She claimed the transaction followed procurement due process, and was in the budget, when clear evidences show otherwise.
The purchase of the cars for Mrs. Oduah has generated outrage for weeks and Nigerians have called for the removal of the officials involved, and their prosecution.
The EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and related offences Commission, ICPC, refused to act for weeks on the case.
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