By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is currently investigating the contractor that handled one of the cargo projects at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Sirika disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to defend the 2023 budget proposal of the ministry.
Sirika explained that there are two cargo projects in Abuja and that one has been completed and is awaiting inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He, however, said that the second project, which was awarded in 2012, was abandoned by the contractor, after he collected 75 per cent of the payment.
“The second one, the contract, was given in 2012; the contractors were paid advanced money up to about 75 per cent.”
He said that the contracts were abandoned by the contractors, adding that Buhari had directed that they be probed, prosecuted, and the money recovered, but because we don’t have prosecuting powers, we reported them to the EFCC.
“They confirmed to me that they have finished the investigation. We will inform the House when we meet the EFCC and they brief us formally.”
Speaking further, the minister noted, “The national carriers will be launched soon. We have Boeing 737s in its fleet for domestic operations, with international operations coming later. We would begin with the domestic market, pending the time we would get the certification and approvals to go international and intercontinental, which would be soon.
Sundiata Post recalls that the minister stressed that “the cost of aircraft maintenance, though worrisome, has been managed during this period. “It is also worth noting that more bilateral and multilateral air services agreements have been signed for the benefit of our air travelers.