Sirika Faces Trial for Alleged N8bn Fraud in Air Nigeria Case

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to arraign former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, next week over his alleged involvement in the failed Nigeria Air project. According to an anonymous source within the anti-graft agency, investigations into the botched project are ongoing, and charges are being prepared against Sirika. The ex-minister was taken into custody by the EFCC on Tuesday, where he was questioned by investigators regarding the alleged N8,069,176,864.00 fraud linked to aviation ministry contracts.

Impeccable sources within the EFCC confirmed Sirika’s interrogation, revealing that the investigation revolves around conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, contract inflation, and money laundering. The alleged fraud, totaling N8,069,176,864.00, reportedly involved contracts awarded by Sirika to a company owned by his younger brother, Abubakar Sirika. Abubakar, who serves as the Managing Director and CEO of Engirios Nigeria Limited, is believed to have received payments for contracts without completing the designated work.

Abubakar Sirika was arrested by the EFCC and is assisting in the investigation into the aviation ministry’s financial expenditures during his brother’s tenure as minister. The contracts awarded to his company include projects such as the construction of a terminal building, establishment of a fire truck maintenance center, procurement and installation of equipment, and purchase of aircraft and a simulator. However, there is allegedly no evidence of work completed for any of these contracts, despite significant payments made.

The EFCC’s probe into Sirika’s involvement in the Nigeria Air project comes amidst conflicting reports regarding the project’s budgetary allocation. Sirika previously claimed that less than N3bn was spent on the project since its inception, contrary to speculation. As investigations continue, the EFCC remains committed to uncovering financial irregularities and prosecuting those involved in fraudulent activities within the aviation ministry.

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