Hours to the election of the officials of the Airports Council International (ACI), African Region, in Maputo, Mozambique, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has described the US$200,000 bribery allegation leveled against its Managing Director/CEO, Engineer Saleh Dunoma, who is the only candidate for President in the regional exercise as false.
The agency has accused Dunoma’s immediate predecessor, Mr. George Uriesi, and the latter’s allies left in the agency as the brain behind the propaganda in the media.
The ACI is the association of the world’s airports. Its prime purpose is to foster cooperation among member airports and with other partners in world aviation, including governmental, airline and aircraft manufacturing organizations. ACI-Africa region represents the African airport operators with regional governmental and non-governmental organizations; supported by specialized committees and task forces.
ACI Africa Region also interacts with other regional bodies and presents the collective positions of its membership, as established through committees and endorsed by the ACI Africa Regional Board.
NEWSVERGE reports that Engr Dunoma, was at the weekend accused of bribing council members of the ACI with a sum of $200,000 to secure the position.
Mr. Kabir Mohammed, the Chief of Staff to FAAN’s Managing Director, in an exclusive interview with NEWSVERGE on Monday, before departing the country through Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos for the conference in Maputo, said that Dunoma never lobbied for the position of council president but that the nomination came as a divine ordination.
Although, when our reporter called the Mr. Uriesi, for his reaction, the former Managing Director was not accessible as it was gathered that Mr. Uriesi was in Maputo.
The Chief of Staff to FAAN Managing Director who was fingered in the bribery scandal said that those that fabricated the propaganda are allies of Uriesi, who was booted out the agency, adding that though Nigeria never showed interest in the election this year but explained that Tounsi Ali, Secretary General, ACI Africa, was the one that called Engr. Dunoma who was ill at that time to contest as it is the turn of Nigeria to lead the council.
Mohammed told NEWSVERGE: “It is so unfortunate that some people, who have personal hatred for Engr. Saleh Dunoma, are out to smear the image of the Managing Director because they lost the opportunity when they contested for the position.
“What I will never shy away from is, there is pull-down syndrome in FAAN. There is a saying that ‘since we could not get it, Dunoma will not get’ and this is what gave birth to the false rumours they have released to the media.
“Let me say this, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, never lobbied to become FAAN Managing Director so, also the opportunity to become ACI President.”
Mohammed explained that Dunoma, remained focused to ensure that FAAN sustains its vision despite the desperation of allies of Uriesi, to see him out of office at all cost.
Meanwhile, NEWSVERGE gathered that Uriesi, spent billions of dollars to bribe members of the council in 2013 to become president of the council at all cost but luck ran out on him as he lost the position to Pascal Komla, from Togo and was out of pity was given the position of Vice President.
In 2014, Nigeria’s former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan sacked Uriesi as MD of FAAN after Nigeria missed the year’s council meeting. Although Uriesi was in attendance, he was not recognised. The country’s representative lost the seat of Vice President to South Africa.
Uriesi, an associate of the former minister of aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, was sacked by the Jonathan administration to sanitise the sector that is said have become a cesspool of corruption.
His sack was part of recommendations by a three-man panel set up by Jonathan to look into the purchase of the N255 million bulletproof cars for the former minister.
Dumona, who was Director, projects was thereafter appointed to replace Uriesi to bring sanity to the agency which industry stakeholders described as “a good thing to move the industry forward and remove all sentiments that had to do with Oduah”.
In the same vein, NEWSVERGE recalls that Uriesi escaped arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2012, over alleged misappropriation of funds in FAAN.