Nigeria’s government has ordered an investigation into the financial status of its Nigcomsat operation. Nigeria’s communications minister has placed the satellite company’s MD, Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, on indefinite leave while the investigation into the business is carried out.
Ahmed-Rufai started as Project Manager of NigComSat-1, before the establishment of Nigcomsat in April 2006. He was named Managing Director/Chief Executive of the company in 2006.
The business, designed to provide satellite communications to Nigeria and much of the rest of Africa, has been beset by problems including the total failure of a Chinese-built and launched satellite (Nigcomsat-1) after just 18 months in orbit (in Nov 2008). This debut satellite was eventually replaced by Nigcomsat-1R, launched in December 2011.
No specific allegations have been made, and local reports suggest that the investigation follows on from Ahmed-Rufai’s drive to migrate the government-owned company into a private business.