The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized a private aircraft belonging to a former governor of Borno state, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff at the Maiduguri International Airport.
The former governor, who is a factional chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is said to be under investigation by the EFCC.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has also arrested one Mr Samuel Ayodele, the beneficial owner of the aircraft.
A ‘beneficial owner’ is a legal term where specific property rights (use and title) in equity belong to a person even though the legal title of the property belongs to another person.
Mr Ayodele who is the managing director of Skybird is said to have been helping the agency with information.
The report also said the anti-graft agency has also seized two private jets allegedly belonging to top politicians under surveillance at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The action of the EFCC was said to have followed the tracing of looted funds by some former political office holders to the purchase of the private jets.
“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,” a source at the EFCC said.
The Nation further reports that 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.
“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,” the source allegedly quoted Ayodele as saying.
Concerning the two other jets allegedly seized at the Abuja airport, a source was quoted as saying: “The movement of the jets is presently restricted until the conclusion of our ongoing probe. All relevant agencies in the aviation industry are collaborating with us on these two jets.
“We are working on information made available to EFCC that they were bought with looted funds,” Mr Ayodele was quoted as saying.
The source reportedly promised that the identities of the owners would be made public after investigations are concluded.
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