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EFCC operatives arrest Hadi Sirika over alleged N8 billion Nigeria Air fraud

Sen. Hadi Sirika, Former Minister for Aviation

*Sources at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission confirm the arrest of Sen. Hadi Sirika, ex-Minister for Aviation, who is ‘currently meeting with EFCC investigators over the alleged N8,069,176,864.00 aviation ministry contract fraud’, conspiracy, abuse of office, and diversion of public funds

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Amid ongoing investigation into his alleged contract racketeering while holding sway in the Ministry, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Sen. Hadi Sirika, former Minister for Aviation, over N8,069,176,864.00 money laundering probe.

It was learnt Sirika, who is being investigated for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation, arrived at the Federal Capital Territory Command of the EFCC at about 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

Following the arrival of the embattled former Minister’s at the anti-graft Commission’s office in Abuja, Sirika is currently meeting with EFCC investigators to answer questions on purported fraudulent contracts he awarded to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by Abubakar Sirika, his younger brother.

Competent sources at the Commission, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the development to The Punch Tuesday.

One of the sources stated: “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.”

Another source also affirmed that “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.”

The EFCC is equally investigating the activities of the Aviation Ministry under his leadership for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation.

Apart from being listed as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar (Hadi’s brother) is reportedly the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in both Zenith International Bank and Union Bank.

It was gathered that Abubakar Sirika had been arrested and detained by the Commission in connection with N3,212,258,930.18 the former Minister paid to the bank account of his company, Engirios Nigeria Limited.

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

There is no trace of work done on any of the contract items till date, according to report.

“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,” said the source.

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