Reps probe $500m failed NigComSat satellite, insurance premium, others.
By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Committee on Insurance and Actuarial on Tuesday commenced investigation into the N180.9 million insurance premium allegedly paid for the failed Satellite 1 project which was launched in 2011 as well as Satellite 1-R for which Nigeria obtained $500 million Chinese loan.
The Committee has given 7 days ultimatum for submission insisting that NigComsat must submit all documents on insurance transactions
Chairman of the Committee, Rep Darlington Nwokocha who presided over the hearing, also quizzed two Managing Directors of Fasahal Insurance and A & G engaged by NigComSat management over alleged irregularities surrounding the unilateral appointment of the insurance brokers without recorded to due process.
According to the chairman, the committee’s investigation was premised on about 6 petitions written by concerned Nigerians within the insurance industry and those working within some of the organization invited.
He added that the investigative hearing was aimed at unravelling issued bothering on infractions, impunity perpetuated by the operator who alleged influenced the contract as well as financial recklessness entrenched in the multi million dollar satellite contract(s)
Other lawmakers who spoke during the exercise, frowned at the blatant breach of extant regulatory laws, demanded for relevant documents on various transactions carried oit among the parties, including
While ruling, the Chairman issued a 7-day ultimatum for all the parties to provide relevant documents relating to the transactions.
While responding to questions on the appointment of the Lead insurance company, NigComSat Managing Director/CEO, Abimbola Alale argued that the Chinese company which manufactured the satellite unilaterally nominated the UK based insurance firm to insure NigComsat 2 which was launched in 2014.
On her part, NigComSat Legal Adviser, Mrs. Alina Okpalefe who affirmed that she was the Secretary of the Project Committee disclosed that no legal official accompanied the delegation to China where the contract was sealed in year 2011.
However in his presentation, the Managing Director of Fasahal Insurance company, Mr. Frederic Adejo who affirmed that he is not a chattered Broker, disclosed that NigComSat introduced him to the Lead Insurance firm.
While responding on the actual premium paid for the satellite project, Mr. Adejo who disclosed that the sum of N180,992,836.35 was paid in 2014 argued that he shopped for Marsh outside the Nigerian shore.
In another breath, he denied knowledge of the relationship between Marsh – Nigeria with the Lead Insurance company.
On his part, the Managing Director of A & G Insurance company, Mr. Abiola Ajibowu informed the Committee argued that all relevant documents required by the Committee have been transmitted.
He disclosed that the only evidence of the contract is the policy document which contained the value of the asset, premium paid and the period of the insurance policy.
To this end, the Committee Chairman demanded for bank statements on all the transactions, schedule insurance policy, just as he stressed that there is no classified information that should be hidden from the Parliament.