Following the stream of controversies that had trailed the launch of proposed national carrier, Nigeria Air the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has summoned ex Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to appear before it within the week.
The anti-graft agency had also questioned officials of the Nigerian Air over the recent launch of the airline in Abuja.
It has been learnt that the commission will probe the N3 billion the ex minister said was spent on the project as well as look at the alleged N85 billion put forward by stakeholders.
Sirika had in a television interview stated categorically that the project since 2016 had got an approval of N5 billion of which around N3billion had been spent.
“Between 2016 to 2023, all the money that was approved was five billion naira and only three billion naira was released and not all has been spent. The money spent so far was spent on transaction advisory, salaries, office in Abuja, consultancy and Air Operating Certificate (AOC) processes,” he said.
However, a compilation of budgetary allocations alleging that N85 billion was spent on the national carrier in eight years came to light from 2016 – N605 million (Transaction advisers and others), 2017 – N755 million (Transaction advisers and others),2018 – N90 million (Transaction advisers and others), 2019 – N47 billion (Working capital for Nigeria Air); 2020 – N4.8 billion (Working capital) , 2021 – N1 billion (appropriation bill) , 2022 – N29.87 billion ( Working capital), 2023: – N1.3 billion (Appropriation bill) garnering a total of N85.42 billion.
Also questions are expected to be asked with regards the launch of Nigeria Air using a chartered Ethiopian airlines aircraft as confirmed by the Minister painted in Nigeria Air livery.
Especially, who the financiers of the charter flight, livery change are and if truly there were paid passengers on the aircraft when it was leaving since it arrived in Nigeria with the ET call sign.