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EFCC Quizzes Ex-Aviation Minister Sirika Over Alleged ₦8bn Fraud

The former aviation minister was accused of conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, criminal breach of trust and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864.


A file photo of former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika. Photo: Twitter-@hadisirika

 

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday, quizzed a former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over alleged ₦8bn Nigeria Air fraud.

A top EFCC operative told Channels Television that the ex-minister came on invitation to the EFCC Headquarters in the Jabi area of Abuja today.

Also, in a chat with journalists on Tuesday, the anti-graft chairman Ola Olukoyede confirmed that the EFCC has been investigating the Aviation and Humanitarian Affairs ministries, saying the probe has not been about only Sirika and Betta Edu but everything about the two ministries.

“It is the system I am investigation and whosoever is now found culpable along the line, those are the names you will hear,” Olukoyede stated.

Back in April, the former aviation minister’s younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, was arrested by EFCC operatives over alleged fraud in the ministry.

The former aviation minister was accused of conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, criminal breach of trust and money laundering amounting to ₦8,069,176,864.

According to the Commission, the sum was for four aviation contracts from the former minister to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger brother.

The agency said apart from being listed as the company’s MD/CEO, Abubakar was the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union banks.

Sources within the EFCC said Sirika awarded the contracts to his brother Abubakar, knowing that the latter is a civil servant, a deputy director on Level 16 in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, where he has been working since 2000 till date.

The first of the controversial contracts from the former minister to Engirios Nigeria Limited was on August 18, 2022 for the construction of Terminal Building in Katsina Airport, at the cost of ₦1,345,586,500.

The second was awarded on November 3, 2022 for the establishment of Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre in Katsina Airport, valued at N3.8 billion.

The third contract was on February 3, 2023 for the procurement and instalment of lifts, air conditioners and power generator’s house in Aviation House, Abuja, at the cost of N615 million  while the fourth was awarded on May 5, 2023 for the procurement of Magnus Aircraft and simulator for Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria at the cost of N2.2 billion.

The source stated that out of the total contract sum, the ex-minister paid out N3.2 billion to his younger brother’s Engirios Nigerian Limited, who upon the receipt of the payment, transferred it to different companies and individuals.  There is no trace of work done on any of the contract items till date.