Some facts emerged yesterday on the alleged indebtedness of Arik Airline which was taken over the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). The new management of the airline has put the indebtedness at N387 billion.
The amount comprises N375bn local debt; 31 million Euros being owed Lufthansa Technik Group managing Arik Air planes and $6.5m being indebtedness on the west coast. The foreign component of the indebtedness is estimated at about N12bn.
This figure was contained in an affidavit deposed to before the Federal High Court in Lagos the Receiver Manager of the airline, Mr. Oluseye Opasanya. The affidavit was deposed to on April 11 in the case filed the former shareholders of Arik challenging the takeover of the airline AMCON.
The breakdown of the debts, according to court document obtained Daily Trust showed that the former shareholders of Arik Air owed various creditors huge sums of money in services rendered and loans obtained.
Among those owed are Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) with a claim of N11.2bn; unremitted pension fund of N4.5bn; insurance premium, N418.8m; N337.5m claim from Pan African Capital Limited for financial advisory services allegedly rendered to the former management; and N277.4m being judgement debt allegedly due to Nigerian Aviation Handling Company.
Others are N203.8m claims for aviation insurance cover; N60.7m claim from Babington Ashaye & Co for tax consulting services; N40.1m claim from Wakanow.com for alleged incentive payout; N22.2m being alleged refund settlement for unused tickets to some 275 passengers; N19.08m being owed 21st Century Technologies Limited; and N6.1m for alleged tax liability to the Kwara State Government, among others.
The receiver manager also deposed in the affidavit that AMCON had injected N1.5bn into Arik since its intervention two months ago.
The court has, however, granted fresh interim injunctive orders in aid of the Receivership of Arik Air based on a motion ex parte filed AMCON and Opasanya.
The injunctive orders, among other things again restrained the shareholders and the directors of Arik from interfering with the management of Arik the receiver/manager.
Spokesman of AMCON, Mr. Jude Nwazor, who interacted with aviation correspondents yesterday, also disclosed that as at the time AMCON intervened in Arik, the company had no single tyre in its store whereas they used to utilize 48 tyres every month.
“This means Arik Air has been toying with the lives of Nigerians…If AMCON had given Arik Air 25 years, it would not be able to pay up the debt”, he said, adding that contrary to claims, the former management did not have assets that could cover its indebtedness.
He said, “AMCON took over Arik to underscore government’s decision to instill sanity in the nation’s aviation sector and prevent a major catastrophe that protected and preserved Arik.
“The takeover would among other objectives enhance the value of Arik, improve customer experience, and sustain the safety, reliable and secure operational history of the airline.
“Arik was in a precarious situation largely attributable to its heavy financial debt burden, bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges and other issues that required immediate intervention in order to guarantee the continued survival of the Airline,” Nwazor said.