Merchant cargo denies sale of CRJ jet

Merchant Express Cargo Limited has debunked claims on the alleged fraudulent sale of CRJ 1000 aircraft that was earlier in the operation of Arik Air.The firm described as untrue the allegation by Arik Air stakeholders that fingered one of the Agents of the Canadian owners of the aircraft, Alberta

Aviation Capital Corporation (AAC), as a fraud, for carrying out the instructions of his clients. The firm, in a statement, explained that Captain Caulcrick was jointly appointed with Merchant Express Cargo Limited by AAC to tear down the CRJ 1000 with MSN 19037, “which legally belongs to them, the new owners, after the cancellation of the lease Agreement with Arik Air, the previous operator, due to many substantial and continued defaults in making outstanding payments to JEM (the Leasor/Owner)”.

“Therefore, the press statement issued to the Nigerian media some few weeks ago did not emanate from JEM Leasing,” the firm stated.
Merchant cargo added that the defaults in Arik Air’s obligations led to the de-registration of the aircraft from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA) registry on July 22, 2022 – with the consent of the lien holder (Export Development Canada, EDC), and ownership reverted to EDC the mortgagee.

“The aircraft currently has a Canadian registry allocation. We categorically state that Capt Caulcrick was an authorised agent of the new Canadian owners, AAC, and the process for the recovery of the aircraft followed all due processes, all of which are properly documented.

“Until contracted on the teardown project, neither Merchant Express nor Capt. Caulcrick had anything to do with the cancelled lease or the de-registration of the aircraft by the NCAA.

“We condemn in its entirety the efforts by the founder of Arik Air, Sir Arumem-Johnson, whose airline is under receivership and his lawyers, and to use the EFCC to intimidate the authorised agents of the legal owners of aircraft (AAC) to stop the owners from taking their aircraft in whatever form they choose back to Canada.”

It added that Capt Caulcrick is an outstanding aviator that has worked all his life to protect the integrity and preserve the sanctity of the aviation industry in Nigeria and everywhere else.

“The effort to malign his person could only be the handwork of those that know they do not have any legal rights over the aircraft; otherwise, they would have approached the courts for an injunction to stop the teardown.

“Using the EFCC and the media are not the tactics of those with legal rights. It only will harm the aviation industry, which could increase leases and insurance costs for future aircraft leasing for Nigerian operators in the future, while the action is contrary to the Cape Town treaty signed by the Nigerian government to protect the assets of foreign investors.

“We are grateful that the Canadian government is escalating the matter at the diplomatic level to preserve their interest.”