Abubakar Ahmad Sirika, the immediate younger brother of the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Abubakar Sirika, has been arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was apprehended by the anti-graft agency on Sunday, February 4, over an investigation by the Aviation Ministry.
The former Minister is facing accusations of contract inflation and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864. The anti-graft agency alleged that the former minister awarded four aviation contracts to a company named Engirios Nigeria, owned by his brother Abubakar.
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.
A source within the EFCC alleged that the former minister awarded the contracts to his brother Abubakar, knowing that the latter is a federal civil servant, a deputy director on Level 16.
The first of the controversial contracts from the former minister to Engirios Nigeria Limited was on August 18, 2022, for the construction of the Terminal Building in Katsina Airport, at the cost of N1,345,586,500.
The second was awarded on November 3, 2022, for the establishment of the 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 installment of lifts, air conditioners, and power generator’s house in Aviation House, Abuja, at the cost of N615 million. The fourth was awarded on May 5, 2023, for the procurement of Magnus Aircraft and simulator for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria at the cost of N2.2 billion.
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 to date.
According to the source, Abubakar Sirika is presently in the EFCC custody from where he is providing additional information on the financial activities of the ministry under the supervision of his older brother Hadi Sirika.