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Alleged N19.4bn fraud: Court grants Ex-Aviation Minister Sirika, brother N200m bail

Persecondnews recalls that Sirika, his daughter Fatimah and son-in-law, Jalal Hamma and Al-Buraq Investment Limited, were previously arraigned on May 9, before Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama in Abuja.

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A former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and his brother, Ahmad Abubakar Sirika, were on Thursday granted bail in the sum of N100 million each and two sureties each in the like sum.

A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Garki, presided over by Justice Suleiman Belgore gave the ruling.

Persecondnews recalls that the defendants has been granted similar bail as earlier pronounced by Justice Sylvanus Oriji of FCT High Court, Maitama.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) is prosecuting the Sirika brothers, and the company – Enginos Nigeria Limited – on a 10-count amended charge bordering on contract fraud to the tune of N19.4 billion..

On the bail conditions, the court held that one of the sureties must own a landed property in the FCT.

The court also held that the defendants are not to travel outside the shores of Nigeria without the permission of the court.

“I see no reason to depart from the conditions granted by my learned brother.

“The prosecution filed no counter affidavit. He is already on administrative bail, he met all the bail applications, he continues to abide by the bail conditions.

“He has never been convicted of any criminal offence in Nigeria, he is a recipient of National honours, he has an aged mother he is catering for an investigation in the case has been completed.

“It is my resolution that this applicant deserves to be admitted to bail and I so do,” Justice Belgore held.

According to the prosecution, the sum is said to be for several aviation ministry contracts from the former minister to Enginos Nigeria Limited owned by Sirika’s younger brother, Ahmad.

The agency claimed that Sirika used his position as a minister to confer undue advantage on his brother, company and other entities between April 2022 to March 2023 in Abuja.

Ahmad, who is said to be the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, is also the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union banks.

EFCC insisted that Sirika awarded the construction of a Terminal Building at Katsina Airport for the sum of N1,345,586,500.00 to Enginos Nigeria Limited, whose alter ego, is Ahmad Abubakar Sirika, his blood brother.

Sirika was also accused of awarding a contract for the establishment of the Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre at Katsina Airport for the sum of N3,811,497,685.00 to his brother and company.

Sirika, among others, was also accused of awarding a contract for the Procurement and Installation of Lift and Air Conditioners and Power Generators for the Aviation House Abuja, for the sum of N615,195,275.00 to Ahmad and Enginos.

The EFCC stated that these offences are contrary to section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same section.

Between August 2022 and May 2023, Ahmad and Enginos, were accused by the EFCC, of being in possession of an aggregate sum of N2,337, 840,674.1, which sum indirectly represented the proceeds of criminal conduct of Sirika, the Minister of Aviation at the time.

“To wit: use of office or position for gratification in respect of the said amount, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under the same section.

Earlier, Ahmad was also said to have been arrested and detained by the EFCC in connection with N3,212,258,930.18 paid to his company, Enginos Nigeria Limited’s bank account by the former minister.

Persecondnews recalls that Sirika, his daughter Fatimah and son-in-law, Jalal Hamma and Al-Buraq Investment Limited, were previously arraigned on May 9, before Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama in Abuja.

They were arraigned on a six-count amended criminal charge of fraud to the tune of N2.7 billion in connection with the botched Nigerian Air project, a national carrier.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted a total of N300 million bail by the court.

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