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Sirika in EFCC net on alleged scam of over N8b aviation contracts diversion

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Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have apprehended the immediate younger brother to former Aviation Minister, Abubakar Ahmad Sirika.

Sources close to the family gathered that Sirika was arrested by the anti-graft agency on Sunday, February 4 over investigation on the activities of President Mohammadu Buhari’s Aviation Minister.

While in office as minister, Sirika 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.

According to EFCC, 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 is the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union banks.

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A reliable source indicated that former Aviation minister awarded the contracts to his younger brother, 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 a cost of N1,345,586,500.

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 instalments of lifts, air conditioners and power generator’s house in Aviation House, Abuja, at a 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 a cost of N2.2 billion.

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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.

According to the source, Abubakar Sirika is presently in the EFCC custody from where he is providing the additional information on the financial activities of the ministry under the supervision of his older brother Hadi Sirika.

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