The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Abubakar Ahmad Sirika, the brother of Hadi Sirika, the immediate past Aviation Minister over an alleged contract fraud in the aviation ministry.
In his tenure as minister, Sirika faced allegations including conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering totalling N8,069,176,864.
According to the anti-graft agency, the amount in question is related to four aviation contracts awarded by the former minister to his brother’s company, Engirios Nigeria Limited.
The agency reported that apart from being the MD/CEO of the company, Abubakar also, is the only signatory to its two accounts, which are maintained in Zenith and Union banks.
A source within the EFCC revealed that Sirika awarded the contracts to his brother despite being aware of Abubakar’s status as a civil official holding the deputy director post on Level 16 at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources since 2000.
The first of the disputed contracts granted by the ex-minister to Engirios Nigeria Limited was on August 18, 2022, involving the construction of a Terminal Building at Katsina Airport, with a total cost of N1,345,586,500.
The second was awarded on November 3, 2022 for the establishment of a Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre in Katsina Airport, valued at N3.8 billion.
The third contract, signed on February 3, 2023, involved the procurement and installation of lifts, air c onditioners, and a power generator’s house at Aviation House in Abuja, with a total cost of N615 million.
Also, the fourth contract, awarded on May 5, 2023, was for the procurement of Magnus Aircraft and a simulator for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Zaria, totalling N2.2 billion.
According to reports, the former minister allegedly disbursed N3.2 billion to his brother’s company, Engirios Nigeria Limited, which subsequently transferred the funds to various entities and individuals.
Despite this transaction, there is no evidence of any work being carried out on the contracted items to date.
Abubakar Sirika is presently held in EFCC custody, where he is offering supplementary information concerning the financial dealings of the ministry, all under the supervision of his older brother, Hadi Sirika.