“They obtained the information illegally”: Aviation ministry goes after informant who leaked details of Oduah’s N225 million car purchase

by ‘Jola Sotubo

The aviation ministry and its officials have begun a manhunt for the official that leaked information about the purchase of expensive bullet-proof cars for the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah.

[READ: Ministry of Aviation justifies purchase of BMWs worth $1.5million for Minister]

The cars, reportedly bought for 255 million naira, were acquired for Mrs. Oduah by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a move which has seen a lot of backlash with various groups calling for investigations into the minister’s affairs and others demanding her resignation.

Nigerian Eye reports:

The Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, disclosed this at a press conference at the head office of the Federal Ministry of Aviation in Abuja on Friday,

He said the Federal Government was concerned about how the information got leaked to the public, noting that whoever leaked the information committed a criminal offence. He explained that the agency had begun moves to uncover the person[s] that leaked the information to the public.

He said, “I am not saying that this particular information should not be put in the public domain. But how it was obtained is the concern. If somebody breaks into an office and makes copies of official documents, then the break-in has become criminal.

“So we are in the process of trying to find the source of this leakage and I am very concerned about it. Because this information may look trivial but there are other information that we have that are confidential and it is only fair for us to respect the confidentiality of information. I am not saying that they broke into our office, but they obtained the information illegally.”

The visibly terrified Akinkuotu said he was stunned to see the documents in the open, stressing that the information were leaked illegally.

He said he was “shell shocked that government information and particularly information from the civil aviation authority has gotten into public purview in an illegal manner. It is criminal! However, what has been done has been done, but I think when such information is gotten, you should have come to the agency to ask. We are not shy to take your questions.”

Akinkuotu stated that Snowden of the United States ran away after leaking confidential information, adding, “He (Snowden) went on the run after putting such information in the public domain. The sources of the leak I don’t know, but yesterday, I issued a circular to all staff on this issue. I will read a little part of the circular: ‘Without prejudice to the nature and the purpose of this act, you should know that leakage and ultimate publication is a matter of great concern to the authority.’

NCAA had purchased two vehicles valued at a whopping $1.6m said to have been delivered to Oduah in August this year. The armoured vehicles, BMW 760 Li, were bought from Coscharis Motors Limited in Lagos.

An online news medium, SaharaReporters, had reported on Tuesday that the armoured vehicles were delivered to the minister in August.

The medium reported that documents in its possession showed that the transaction for the purchase of the two BMW cars started in June, but the request for the delivery of and payment for them was fast-tracked between August 13 and 15, 2013.

The transaction involved the NCAA, First Bank of Nigeria, and Coscharis Motors Limited, according to the report.

The two black BMW 760 Li HSS vehicles had chasis numbers WBAHP41050DW68032 and WBAHP41010DW68044, and were reportedly delivered to the NCAA on August 13, 2013. They were received by two store managers, F. Onoabhagbe and Y. A. Amzat, who is also the agency’s head of transport.

 

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