Yesterday there were reports that a private jet was seized and two Nigerians were being investigated for trying to smuggling $9.3 million in cash into South Africa (read here). It turns out that the private jet the money was found in belongs to the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN president, Ayo Oritsejafor via a company he co-owns, Eagle Air. But in a statement released today, Pastor Oritsejafor said he had leased the jet to another company so had no control over the use of the jet.
"On behalf of Pastor Oritsejafor, we can confirm that although he holds an interest in Eagle Air, the aircraft in question is not operated by Pastor Oritsejafor. The aircraft was leased to, and is operated by Green Coast Produce Limited since August 2” a statement from the church read.Green Coast Produce Limited then released a statement saying that the aircraft was hired by one John Ishyaku and therefore they can't be liable for any alleged infractions either in Nigeria or South Africa after the hire.
“On the 5th of September 2014 the aircraft was hired from us by a John Ishyaku. The charter to John Ishyaku was upon the following documented terms: (a) Depart Abuja-Johannesburg on the 5th of September 2014 (b) Return to Abuja on the 6th of September 2014 (c) To wait and return with the passengers. All cargoes were accompanied by passenger who could readily defend the contents. We are not and cannot be privy to any alleged extraneous cargo transported on the aircraft other than that declared in the agreed terms of hire. We are not liable and cannot be construed as a party to any alleged infractions, either in Nigeria or South Africa as he case may be, after the hire of the aircraft." the company said.The private jet carrying the money, allegedly meant for buying weapons, landed at Lanseria International Airport, Johannesburg on September 5. The money was loaded in three suitcases but attracted suspicion when the suitcases were scanned. The money and the jet have been seized by SA customs pending investigation.