Former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika Arrested by EFCC Over N8.07 Billion Money Laundering Probe

Former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an ongoing N8,069,176,864.00 money laundering investigation.

Sirika arrived at the EFCC’s Federal Capital Territory Command in Abuja around 1:00 pm on Tuesday to meet with investigators.

The arrest comes after allegations of fraudulent contracts awarded by Sirika to Engirios Nigeria Limited, a company owned by his younger brother, Abubakar Sirika.

Impeccable sources within the anti-graft agency, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the ex-minister is being questioned regarding the alleged N8.07 billion aviation ministry contract fraud.

According to the EFCC, the aviation ministry contracts were reportedly awarded in collaboration with Sirika’s younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, who serves as a civil servant in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.

Abubakar Sirika, also the Managing Director and CEO of Engirios Nigeria Limited, has been detained by the commission for receiving N3,212,258,930.18 from his brother’s ministry without any evidence of completed work.

The investigations focus on four major contracts awarded during Hadi Sirika’s tenure as Minister of Aviation:

Terminal Building in Katsina Airport: Awarded on August 18, 2022, valued at N1,345,586,500.00.

Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Center in Katsina Airport: Awarded on November 3, 2022, valued at N3,811,497,685.00.

Procurement and Installation of Facilities in Aviation House, Abuja: Awarded on February 3, 2023, valued at N615,195,275.00.

Procurement of Magnus Aircraft and Simulator for Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria: Awarded on May 5, 2023, valued at N2,296,897,404.00.

Out of the total contract sum, N3,212,258,930.18 was paid to Abubakar Sirika’s Engirios Nigeria Limited. However, the EFCC has found no evidence of work completed on any of the contract items to date.

The younger Sirika is assisting the EFCC with its probe, shedding light on the financial activities of the Aviation Ministry during his brother’s tenure. He has been in custody since his arrest on February 4, 2023.

The arrest and ongoing investigation are part of the EFCC’s efforts to tackle corruption and financial malfeasance within government agencies.

Charges being investigated include conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, criminal breaches of trust, and money laundering.

Both Hadi Sirika and Abubakar Sirika have yet to publicly comment on the allegations and arrests.

The EFCC has stated that the investigations are still ongoing, with more details expected to emerge as the probe continues.

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