Retired Naval Chief Denies Receiving N45m In Error
In a statement, made available to The Guardian yesterday, Ogbonna said the alleged payment was made for a genuine contract he had with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for leasing three helicopters from Tunisia for the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR).
The retired naval officer, who is also a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, maintained that the procurement of the helicopters was the idea of late President Umaru Yar’dua in order to prevent DPR from hiring helicopters from International Oil Companies (IOCs), they were supposed to police.
The N45m, he explained, was part payment of the mobilization for the contract, while the full sum is N110m, adding that a total of N90m has been paid by the ministry.
He said: “Some government official wanted me to launder the money and share the money without supplying the helicopters but I refused. This is against my principle and what I stand for. Our nation will continue to crawl behind other nations of the world if we all continue to compromise.
“The money was used to take the officers of the DPR and the Ministry of Petroleum to visit Tunisia for inspection. The officials of Civil Aviation also traveled for inspection of the helicopters, including officers of the Aero contractors who were to operate the helicopters. The officials and crew of the Tunisian company, Tunisiavia, visited Nigeria to inspect the facilities where the helicopters will operate.