$44.9m Bank Fraud: Air Peace Boss Says Al
By Wole Oye – Piqued by allegations of bank fraud and money laundering levelled against him by the United States Department of Justice, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Airlines, Alex Onyema, has denied any wrongdoing.
Onyema is said to have moved “more than $20 million from Nigeria through some United States banks in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.”
Air Peace director of Finance and Administration, Ejiroghene Eghagha, has also been indicted and wanted.
But reacting to the allegation of wire fraud totaling $44.9 million, A. O. Alegeh, lawyer to Onyema, described the allegations as “strange and unfounded.”
Mr Onyema is alleged to have transferred over $20 million from the accounts of four Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, in Nigeria to the US to purchase airplanes for Air Peace Airlines.
The NGOs are: Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Centre for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited and Every Child Limited.
Defending his client, the lawyer states, “On behalf of Allen Onyema, we hereby state that he strongly denies and will vigorously defend himself against the allegations made against him by the US Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia in relation to purchase of Aircraft, Aircraft spares and Aircraft maintenance. None of the allegations involve any third party funds but relate to his funds utilised in the Airline business. There is no allegation that any Bank [in the United States, Nigeria or elsewhere], company or individual suffered any financial or any loss whatsoever.
“The allegations are unfounded and strange to him. Allen Onyema has a track record built on honesty and integrity and will take all necessary steps to clear his good name and hard earned reputation. He looks forward to an opportunity to rebut these allegations in Court.”