February 06, (THEWILL) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Sunday, arrested Abubakar Ahmad Sirika, brother of immediate-past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
According to THEWILL’s findings, Abubakar Sirika, a civil servant, was quizzed by the EFCC on Monday, over an alleged N8.06 billion contract fraud in the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
A report by The Nation, said Abubakar’s arrest was part of the ongoing probe of alleged fraudulent practices in the Ministry of Aviation during the tenure of the ex-minister.
The former Aviation Minister reportedly awarded four contracts between August 2022 and May 2023 to Engirios Nigeria, for which the money was paid but were not executed.
EFCC investigators said Abubakar is listed as the company’s Managing Director (MD)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and is the sole signatory to the two accounts owned by the firm in two banks.
About N3,212,258,930.18 has been traced to Engirios Nigeria owned by Abubakar, a Deputy Director on Grade Level 16 at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
According to the anti-graft agency, the four contracts Hadi awarded to his brother are: Construction of the Terminal Building in Katsina Airport (N1,345,586,500.00); Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre in Katsina Airport (N3,811,497,685.00); Procurement and installation of elevators, air conditioners and power generator house in Aviation House, Abuja (N615,195,275.000), and Procurement of Magnus Aircraft and simulator for Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria (N2,296,897, 404.00).
“It is suspected that the ex-Minister, Hadi Sirika, awarded the contracts to his brother Abubakar, knowing that he is a senior civil servant, working since 2000.
“The first of the controversial contracts awarded to Engirios Nigeria Limited was on August 18, 2022, for the construction of the Terminal Building in Katsina Airport.
“The second was awarded on November 3, 2022, for the establishment of the Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre in Katsina Airport.
“The third contract was on February 3, 2023, for the procurement and installation of elevators, air conditioners and power generator’s house in Aviation House, Abuja.
“The fourth was awarded on May 5, 2023, bearly 24 days to the end of the Buhari Administration tenure, for the procurement of Magnus Aircraft and simulator for Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria,” the EFCC alleged.
An official of the anti-graft, who confirmed the arrest, said: “EFCC’s crack team was able to uncover four contracts, worth about N8,069,176,864.00, which were not executed. While profiling the contracts, there was a payment of N3,212,258,930.18 out of the total contract sum to Engirios Nigeria Limited, which is owned by the younger brother of the ex-Minister of Aviation.
“Apart from being listed as the company’s MD/CEO, Abubakar is the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts.
“Investigators further discovered that upon the receipt of the payment, Abubakar allegedly transferred it to different companies and individuals.”