Home » EFCC Arrests Ex-Aviation Minister Sirika Over N8bn Fraud

EFCC Arrests Ex-Aviation Minister Sirika Over N8bn Fraud

EFCC Probe Targets Fraudulent Contracts in Nigeria Air Scandal

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

The former Minister of Aviation under President Muhammadu Buhari, Hadi Sirika, has been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria. This is part of their extensive investigation into an N8 billion fraud related to the Nigeria Air project. Sirika is being investigated for his alleged involvement in awarding fraudulent contracts to Engirios Nigeria Limited, a company reportedly owned by his younger brother, Abubakar Sirika.

This arrest follows a series of investigations initiated in February that looked into various potential infractions by Sirika, including conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation. The total amount under investigation sums up to N8,069,176,864.00, encapsulating various alleged criminal activities during his administration.

Abubakar Sirika, who is listed as the Managing Director and CEO of Engirios Nigeria Limited and the sole signatory of the company’s accounts in both Zenith and Union Banks, has also been detained by the EFCC. The focus of his detention is related to a suspicious transaction where N3,212,258,930.18 was paid into the company’s account by Hadi Sirika, with no corresponding evidence of work completed for these funds.

Hadi Sirika was arrested on Sunday, February 4, marking a significant step in the EFCC’s efforts to unravel the financial dealings within the Aviation Ministry during his tenure. The allegations point towards a substantial misuse of authority and a breach of trust involving substantial amounts of public funds.

The inquiry into the contracts awarded to Engirios Nigeria Limited is particularly damning, as investigations so far have not uncovered any proof of completed work that corresponds with the huge sums of money transferred. This situation highlights concerns about the transparency and accountability of past government dealings under Sirika’s oversight.

The EFCC’s actions reflect ongoing efforts to combat corruption within Nigeria’s governmental sectors, aiming to hold high-ranking officials accountable for their roles in financial mismanagement or corrupt practices. This case is one of several high-profile probes that have been initiated to clean up corrupt practices and restore public trust in government operations.

The implications of this case have far-reaching consequences for Nigeria’s aviation sector, which has undergone numerous reforms and projects such as Nigeria Air, all aimed at improving the country’s position in the global aviation market. The ongoing investigation and subsequent arrests are being closely monitored by the public and international observers as a test of the Nigerian government’s commitment to combating corruption within its ranks.

As the EFCC continues its investigation, more information is expected to be uncovered regarding the alleged financial irregularities and the specific roles played by those involved. The outcome of this investigation could result in significant changes in the way government contracts are awarded and managed in Nigeria, particularly in sensitive sectors such as aviation, where large amounts of public funds are regularly handled.

Source: Vanguard

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