NO CHANGE? | Kachikwu, Emefiele Now Fly Private Jets Used by Diezani
…aircraft flown to CBN gov’s mother’s burial
Top-rated Canadian-made private jets chartered regularly by the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, are now being flown by the new Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Punch newspaper reports.
The development brings to question the new administration’s criticism of financial recklessness of the previous administration and its resolve to cut costs in the face of falling oil prices.
The Bombardier luxury private jets with cozy interior, flown by Kachikwu and Emefiele belong to VistaJet Holding SA, a Swiss charter airline that has satellite facilities in some countries of the world, including Nigeria.
Diezani had faced sharp criticism for chartering VistaJet’s private jets for several months and accumulating huge sums of bills that was almost half of the cost of a private jet.
The CBN, impeccable sources within the apex bank revealed, had also entered into a long-term and renewable contract with VistaJet.
The contract gives Emefiele unfettered access to one of VistaJet’s luxury planes any time of the day and for whatever number of hours.
According to top officials of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency working in the Air Traffic Control Towers in Lagos and Abuja airports, Emefiele has been flying regularly one of VistaJet’s private jets.
He has been sighted flying the Bombardier Challenger 850 flown by Diezani during the last administration.
According to unconfirmed sources, the CBN pays $1m to VistaJet a year for the use of any of its jets by the governor any time.
A top official of the CBN, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the apex bank and VistaJet had signed an agreement that allowed the governor to make use of any of the private jets on demand.
The central bank official, however, said the amount was not up to $1m a year, saying he neither had the details nor the terms of the contract.
The CBN source said, “The CBN entered the agreement because of flight delays and cancellations associated with domestic airlines. Because of the nature of the work of the CBN governor, he may be wanted at the Presidency or any other key place at any time. The only way he can meet up is to enter into this kind of arrangement. The frequent disappointments associated with local airlines may not allow this to happen. This is why we bought block hours from the firm.”
Asked why such an agreement was not signed with any of the local charter airlines, the official said, “This company, though a foreign one, has met all the requirements of the CBN. The apex bank also discovered that they will perform. I am sure if other local players met the requirements, they could have been considered.”
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