Hard times could hit the local air travel sector following fraud and money-laundering allegations against Air Peace airline’s boss. Although the industry is not new to such allegations, this is the gravest accusation against a major airline that has over 50 per cent dominant share of the local market and its operations.
The fresh claims, which came to the fore at the weekend, have sent shivers down the spines of stakeholders who have begun pondering the fate that awaits the airline amid other implications for local, regional and international travels in the country.
xperts specifically feared a ripple effect on the airline and its operations, imminent cancelation of $20 billion worth of aircraft acquisition deals with Boeing and Embraer, higher credibility hurdles against Nigerian operators overseas, and the future of over 5000 direct and indirect employees of Air Peace, should the trial not go in favour of its chairman, Allen Onyema.
The United States Department of Justice indicted Onyema for fraud and laundering more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme allegedly involving false documents for the purchase of airplanes.
Onyema, 56, and the airline’s Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, 37, were indicted on November 19, on a one-count charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit credit application fraud and three counts of credit application fraud.
Source: Guardian NG