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Alleged N8bn fraud: Court fixes date for arraignment of Sirika, brother on fresh charges

Sirika

Hadi Sirika in court

Former Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika and his brother, Ahmad will be arraigned before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court, Garki, on a fresh eight-count charge bordering on abuse of office, criminal breach of trust, use of position for gratification on 23 May.

Sirika and Ahmad were due to be arraigned today by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the fresh charges before Justice Suleman Belgore.

However, the arraignment was stalled as Sirika and his brother were absent in court.

When the case was called today, the prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, informed the court that the defendants were not in court.

According to him, the defendants’ counsel had informed him that the defendants were not in Abuja, adding that they were even yet to be served the charges filed against them in court.

Atolagbe further informed the court that the defendants were not in EFCC custody having been granted administrative bail.

He, however, told the court that the prosecution would be amending the charge against the defendants earlier filed before the court.

Counsel for the defendants, Olaniyi Anjorin confirmed to the court that what Atolagbe said about his clients was correct.

Following the prosecution’s request for an adjournment to enable the defendants attend court to take their plead, Justice Belgore adjourned until May 23 for arraignment of the former minister and orders.

In the fresh eight-count charge, EFCC had alleged that Sirika conferred an unfair advantage upon Enginos Nigeria Limited, whose alter ego is his biological brother, Ahmad, by using his position to influence the award of contract for the construction of a terminal building at Katsina Airport for the sum of N1,345,586,500.

EFCC further alleged that the former minister used his position to influence the award of contract for the establishment of Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre at Katsina Airport for the sum of N3,811,497,685.

It also, among others, alleged that Ahmad and Enginos Nigeria Limited had possession of an aggregate sum of N2,337,840,674.16 which they knew indirectly represented the proceeds of criminal conducts of the former minister.

The offence, according to the EFCC, were committed in Abuja between August, 2022 and May, 2023.

According to EFCC, the offences were contrary to the provisions of Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000; Section 17(b) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 as well as Section 315 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Acts of the Federal Capital Territory and punishable under the same Acts.

EFCC had May 9 arraigned Sirika alongside his daughter, Fatima Hadi Sirika, son-in-law, Jalal Sule Hamma and Al Daruq Investment Limited before Justice Sylvanus Oriji, also of the FCT High Court, Maitama on an alleged N4.1billion contract fraud.

The four defendant were charge with offences bordering on contract fraud, corruption and gratification. They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by EFCC.

Following their not-guilty pleas, Justice Oriji subsequently admitted each of them to a bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties each in like sum.

The judge ruled that each of their sureties must depose to affidavit of means, while one of the two sureties for each of them must possess landed property within the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) covered by valid Certificate of Occupancy duly signed by the FCT Minister.
(NAN)

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