A private jet seized weekend by South African authorities with a stack of $9.3 million in cash meant for arms purchase, belongs to the head of the Nigerian Christian community, it emerged on Tuesday.
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had however leased the jet to another party.
The Word of Life Bible Church, Warri in Delta State on Tuesday confirmed holding a residual interest in the embattled Bombardier Challenger 600, with registration number N808HG, owned by Eagle Air Company.
This was contained in a statement by Bayo Adewoye, the Personal Assistant to the founder of the World of Life Bible Church, in Warri.
Adewoye said: “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 is owned by Eagle Air Company, who has confirmed that since August 2, 2014, the aircraft has been leased to and is operated by Green Coast Produce Limited. This is a standard practice in the industry.
“Any and all enquiries in respect of the day-to-day operations of this aircraft are properly directed to the management of Green Coast Produce Limited.”
The aircraft was alleged to have been apprehended on September 5 in South Africa while trying to enter into the country with a huge amount of foreign currency.
The Eagle Air had also claimed ownership of the aircraft in a statement released on September 15, but denied involvement in movement of the alleged money.
The Eagle Air alleged that the jet was under lease to Green Coast Produce Limited and it had been operating it since August 2.