Arik Air Limited’s management has denied claims of the misuse of N120 billion in funds while the company is under receivership.
According to reports, the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria’s receiver manager for Arik Air, Mr. Kamilu Omokide, was detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly misappropriating and diverting nearly N120 billion.
Reacting to the development, the airline described the report as false, saying it was “nothing more than well-concocted lies and forms part of a deliberate campaign of calumny against the Receiver Manager.”
In the statement, made available to the press on Sunday, Arik Air said the alleged misappropriation of N120 billion was contained in a petition filed by Mr Femi Falana.
The statement was made available by the media consultancy firm to the airline, SY & T Communications Limited.
The Chief Executive Officer of SY & T Communications, Mr Simon Tumba, in the statement, described Sir Arumemi Johnson, the majority shareholder of Arik, “as the true subject of the investigation.”
The statement added, “Johnson guarantees the N240bn owed by Arik to AMCON as of May 31, 2023, and is, therefore, an obligor in respect of this indebtedness and is personally liable for them.”
It further read in part, “This statement is issued on behalf of Arik Air Limited (in receivership) under the leadership of its Receiver Manager, Omokide, Kamilu Alaba, in response to recent media reports concerning an EFCC investigation into the affairs of Arik. These reports have unjustifiably, and without verification of the facts, linked the Receiver Manager of Arik to financial fraud within Arik.
“The investigation is apparently based on a petition filed by Mr. Femi Falana, SAN (the petition) and was instigated by Sir Arumemi Johnson, the majority shareholder in Arik, which owes AMCON about N240 billion as of May 31, 2023. Sir Arumemi Johnson guaranteed, and therefore is by law an obligor in respect of, this indebtedness and is personally liable for them.
“The wild allegations of the misappropriation of N120bn in the petition are manifestly and patently false and amount to no more than well-concocted lies as part of a deliberate campaign of calumny against the Receiver Manager to abort the ongoing receivership in Arik. Indeed, even on the face of the petition, the claims do not add up to N120 billion. It is made up as a publicity stunt.
“Also, the statement noted that the receiver manager seeks only to recover money owed to the Nigerian people by the debtor, assuring that he and the airline workers would accord the EFCC maximum cooperation.”