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EFCC arrests Nigeria’s ex-Minister of Aviation over alleged N8bn Nigeria Air fraud

EFCC arrests Nigeria’s ex-Minister of Aviation over alleged N8bn Nigeria Air fraud

Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may have arrested former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over an ongoing N8,069,176,864.00 money laundering probe, according to a Punch report.

The indicted former Minister of Aviation arrived at the Federal Capital Territory Command of the EFCC at about 1:00 pm on Tuesday.

Following his arrival at the command, Sirika met with EFCC investigators to answer questions on alleged fraudulent contracts awarded by him to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

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“Yes, that was Hadi Sirika who was taken into our FCT custody. He is currently meeting with EFCC investigators over the alleged N8,069,176,864.00 aviation ministry contract fraud,” Punch quoted a source to have said.

Another source noted, “The N8,069,176,864.00 aviation ministry contract fraud was carried out in connivance with his younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, through the latter’s company.”

Another source said the anti-graft commission is investigating the activities of the Aviation Ministry for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation.

Others are criminal breaches of trust and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864.00 during Sirika’s tenure in office.

The sum is said to be for four aviation contracts from the former minister to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

Apart from being listed as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar is said to be the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union Banksy.

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It was further revealed that the ex-minister’s younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, has been arrested and detained by the commission in connection with N3,212,258,930.18 paid to his company, Engirios Nigerian Limited’s, bank account by the former minister.

It was noted that there is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

The source said Abubakar Sirika, who was arrested on Sunday, February 4, has since been assisting the commission in its probe of the Aviation Ministry’s financial expenditures during Mr Sirika’s tenure.

The EFCC investigator said, “We’re investigating an N8,069,176,864.00 money laundering case linked to former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika.

“Hadi awarded 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 contracts from the former minister to Engirios Nigeria Limited was on August 18, 2022, for the construction of the Terminal Building in Katsina Airport, at a cost of N1,345,586,500.00. The second was awarded on November 3, 2022, for the establishment of the Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Center in Katsina Airport, valued at N3, 811,497,685.00.

“The third contract was on February 3, 2023, for the procurement and installation of lifts, air conditioners, and a power generator’s house in Aviation House, Abuja, at the cost of N615,195,275.000, while the fourth was awarded on May 5, 2023, for the procurement of Magnus aircraft and a simulator for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, at the cost of N2, 296,897,404.00.

“Out of the total contract sum, the ex-minister paid out N3,212,258,930.18 to his younger brother’s Engirios Nigerian Limited, who, upon receipt of the payment, transferred it to different companies and individuals. There is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

“Abubakar Sirika is currently in our custody at the Headquarters, and he is providing us with more useful information on the financial activities of the Aviation Ministry under the supervision of his older brother, Hadi Sirika.”

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