N2.7bn fraud: BPP director testifies against Sirika

N2.7bn fraud: BPP director testifies against Sirika

A certain Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, witness told an Abuja High Court that former aviation minister, Hadi Sirika’s company was not among five companies listed as bidders for the contract for the Apron Extension at Katsina Airport.

The witness, Isaiah Yusuf, who testified as EFCC 4th witness (PW4) said this in his testimony on alleged N2.7 billion against Sirika and three others.

The EFCC dragged him alongside his daughter, Fatima; Jalal Sule Hamma and Al-Duraq Investment Limited, for abuse of office and contract fraud.

They are standing trial before Justice Sylvanus Oriji on six counts.

The minister who served under former President Muhammadu Buhari was accused of abusing his office as minister through the award of contracts to a company in which his daughter and her husband had interest.

The offence allegedly committed by the former minister and others, according to the prosecution, are contrary to Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, to Section 17 (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.

In addition, Section 315 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532 Acts of the Federal Capital Territory and punishable under the same sections.

Yusuf who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, said he is director, procurement, Bureau Public Procurement (BPP).

He said on March 16, 2022, a letter was received from the Ministry of Aviation requesting for letter of ‘no objection ‘ to enable the ministry award contracts with restricted publicity.

He told the court that if the contract was below N1.5 billion, the ministerial tender board can approve.

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The witness added if the amount is above N1.5billion, the BPP will issue ‘certificate of no objection ‘ that will enable the ministry or agency to proceed to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.

Yusuf further said that after the approval is given, it goes back to the ministry or agency that placed the request.

”The ministry of Aviation wrote two letters to BPP dated May 16 and May 17 requesting for ‘due process no objection ‘ for restricted advertisement for bidders.

”The ministry brought names of selected companies, five in number for the building of the terminal and extension of Katsina Airport.

”BPP approved the five listed companies for the contract for N800 million but Al-Duraq Global Investment Limited and Apron Expansion was not on the list,” he told the court.

Yusuf told the court that by the time the approval was given to the ministry, the BPP received no other communication.

“It was when the EFCC contacted the BPP that we got to know that the project was split into two with costs at N1.4 billion and N1.3 billion.

“The BPP Act, section 16(6) must be strictly adhered to before bidders can be awarded with contracts.

”The actual cost of the project brought to the BPP for evaluation was N800 million and the least bidder gets the contract should be awarded the contract.

”We do not know how the project turned into two contracts and how Al-Duraq Global Investment Limited and Apron Expansion were awarded the contract,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Justice Oriji adjourned until July 5, for cross examination of the witness.

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