The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned Nigerian travel agents to stop issuing airline tickets to people who buy them to use and purchase a Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) and to cancel more their flights late after obtaining foreign currency from banks.
The letter written to the National Association of Travel Agencies of Nigeria (NANTA), titled “Re: Ticket Issuance for Fraudulent Purchase of BTA”, addressed to the President of the Association, Ms. Susan Akporiaye and signed by the IATA West and Central Africa account manager, Dr Samson Fatoken, warned travel agents to desist from this unscrupulous act, which he called economic sabotage.
The letter read: “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has drawn my attention to the criminal practice of issuing airline tickets to unscrupulous people for fraudulent purchase of BTA and the same tickets are canceled on the same day once. that economic fraud has been committed. This nefarious activity amounts to economic sabotage, as it constitutes a leak in the currencies of the CBN.
“Issuing tickets for the sole purpose of purchasing BTAs and subsequently canceling those tickets, known as ‘ticket hire’, is fraudulent and amounts to participating in economic sabotage. You are advised to alert your members to this fraudulent practice and to warn any agent likely to be involved in this economic sabotage to renounce it.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria expects our greatest cooperation. “
But in her reaction, NANTA President Ms Susan Akporiaye said TODAY that those engaged in fraudulent activities were not registered members of the association because all NANTA members had been ordered to not to engage in such unscrupulous acts.
She said the association would respond to IATA and CBN and explain to them that there were other travel agents not registered with NANTA and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). so that the government can regulate them.
“I doubt that it is our members who are engaging in this fraudulent act because we have educated our members and in various meetings we have reinforced the message to them; so they know the implication.
“I understand the letter that was written to us because we are the umbrella association of travel agents in Nigeria. I will respond to the letter and explain to CBN and IATA that we need government support to ensure that everyone involved in the travel agency is registered with the NCAA and us.
“Those who do this are not our members. There are many travel agents who are not our members. We have already disseminated this information to our members. We always emphasize this in our meetings. But IATA wrote us the letter. I am already preparing to answer them. It is not in our character to engage in such illegal activities. Our registered members cannot engage in such activities. We need government support to make sure all agents are registered with us, ”she said.
Nigeria has around 15,000 travel agents located in different parts of the country.