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N19.4bn Fraud Trial: Court grants ex-Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika bail

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In a recent development, Justice Suleiman Belgore of the FCT High Court in Garki has granted bail to the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who is currently facing trial for an alleged fraud totaling N19.4 billion.

The court granted bail to the former minister in the sum of N100 million and required two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.

Additionally, the court imposed a condition that the former minister must not leave Nigeria without the permission of the court.

Furthermore, the court extended the same bail terms and conditions to the second defendant, Ahmad Sirika.

This development comes in the wake of fresh charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Hadi Sirika, his brother Ahmad Sirika, and their company, Enginos Nigeria Limited.

These charges are related to alleged fraud amounting to over N19.4 billion, involving several aviation ministry contracts awarded by the former minister to Enginos Nigeria Limited, owned by Sirika’s younger brother, Abubakar.

It is noteworthy that prior to these charges, the EFCC had arraigned the former minister alongside his daughter, Fatima, his son-in-law, Jalal Sule Hamma, and a firm – Al Buraq Global Investment Limited, on charges of fraud amounting to N2.7 billion. However, Hadi Sirika was granted bail in that case.

In the copy of the fresh charges, the EFCC alleged that Sirika, “while being the Minister of Aviation, on or about August 18, 2022, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did use your position to confer an unfair advantage upon Enginos Nigeria Limited, whose alter ego, Ahmad Abubakar Sirika, is your biological brother, by using your position to influence the award to him, the contract for the construction of a terminal building at Katsina Airport for the sum of N1,345,586,500.00.”

The alleged action by Sirika, the anti-graft agency said, violated Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and was punishable under the same section.

In another count, the EFCC alleged that “on or about November 3, 2022, in Abuja,” Sirika used his position “to confer unfair advantage upon Enginos Nigeria Limited, whose alter ego, Ahmad Abubakar Sirika, is your biological brother, by using your position to influence the award to him, the contract for the establishment of Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Centre at Katsina Airport for the sum of N3,811,497,685.00.”

In another count, he was accused of corruptly awarding a N615,195,275.00 contract to his brother, to procure and install lift and air conditioners and power generators for the Aviation House in Abuja.

The EFCC alleged that Sirika, between August 2022 and May 2023 in Abuja, “had possession of an aggregate sum of N2,337, 840,674.16, which sum you knew indirectly represented the proceeds of criminal conducts of Hadi Abubakar Sirika, who was the Minister of Aviation at the time.”

On Thursday, May 23, the court after hearing some arguments on the matter, granted the former minister and his brother bail and set fixed trial for the 28th and 29th of May 2024.

With the court’s decision to grant bail to Hadi Sirika and his co-defendant, the legal proceedings in this high-profile case are expected to continue as the accused individuals prepare to defend themselves against the allegations leveled against them.

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