8th June, 2011
The scandal steamrolling the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and its revenue generating concessionaire, Maevis Nigeria Limited, has worsened.
FAAN is insisting that Maevis Nigeria Limited, known simply as Maevis, fraudulently withheld billions of naira it generated for the agency since the concession started in 2008.
The agency is calling on the Federal Government to cancel the concession agreement immediately on the basis of fraud and under-performance by Maevis.
Maevis is denying all the allegations, saying that it has remitted about N28 billion to FAAN since September 2008. Both FAAN and Maevis did not show documents to back up their claims and counter-claims.
The company, owned by businessman, Tunde Fagbemi, has gone to court and secured an injunction to stop FAAN from evicting Maevis from Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt international airports where it is collecting money on behalf of FAAN.
The face-off has led to confusion in the international airports with foreign airlines saying that they do not know whether they must pay to FAAN or Maevis.
Speaking with P.M.NEWS yesterday, the General Manager, Public Affairs of FAAN, Mr. Akin Olukunle, insisted that billions of naira that should have gone to the coffers of FAAN are still not accounted for by Maevis.
The money, he said, was paid by the airlines, the ground handling companies such as NAHCO Aviance and SAHCOL, the passengers, in the form of Passenger Service Charge, PSC, and other sources, but was never remitted to FAAN.
The Head, General Services, Maevis, Mr. Wale Soneye, who spoke with our correspondent yesterday in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, insisted that the company never withheld funds meant for FAAN and that its platform could not be accessed to by both parties.
Soneye disclosed that Maevis remitted over N1billion to FAAN last month. He did not disclose the exact amount.
He said that since the concessionaire commenced the automation of charges in 2008, revenue of the agency had increased from what it used to be. He did not give figures to back up his claims.
On the current face-off between both parties, Soneye said that the company had gone to court to protect the sanctity of its agreement and that the first court judgement was delivered on 17 December, 2010 while it obtained the second judgement on the 19 May, 2011 at the Federal High Court, Lagos all in its favour.
Before Maevis began collecting money for FAAN in 2008, everything was done manually and the process was always marred by allegations of fraud and corruption by senior FAAN executives.
The airlines or handling companies simply bribed some executives at FAAN and paid less than what they ought to pay. The fraud went on for decades.
To redress the situation, a 10-year concession agreement was entered into between FAAN and Maevis for the latter to generate money for FAAN with an automated platform.
Maevis was to collect two percent commission for the total amount generated every month and 35 percent enhancement fee every month.
The enhancement fee meant that Maevis was to collect 35 percent commission for every revenue generated from untapped areas by FAAN before Maevis came into play.
Last month for example, with over N1billion remitted to FAAN, Maevis made at least N10 million from its two percent commission and an undisclosed amount of money from its 35 percent enhancement fee.
Already, various workersâ€™unions have crippled activities at Lagos and Abuja airports, calling on the government to cancel the unfair agreement.
Already, FAAN is said to have stopped Maevis from operating at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport in Abuja.
Sources said that the government agency may soon stop the company from operating in Lagos and Port Harcourt airports.