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EFCC Arraigns Hadi Sirika, Three Others for N2.8billion Fraud

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The Abuja Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  EFCC,  on Thursday,  May 9, 2024 arraigned a former Minister of Aviation,  Hadi Abubakar Sirika and three others:  Fatima Hadi Sirika, Jalal Sule Hamma and Al Buraq Global  Investment Limited before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory , FCT, High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.

They were arraigned on six count amended charges bordering on contract fraud to the tune of N2,825,032,220.97( Two Billion, Eight Hundred and Twenty Five Million,  Thirty Two Thousand,  Two Hundred and Twenty Naira,  Ninety Seven kobo only).

Count one of the charges reads: That you, HADI ABUBAKAR SIRIKA, while being the Minister of Aviation between April, 2022 and March, 2023, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, did use your position to confer unfair advantage upon TIANAERO NIGERIA LIMITED whose alter ego, PROF. GABRIEL TILMANN is your Associate by using your position to influence the award to them, the Consultancy contract for the Nigerian Air Start-up and extension of same for the sum of N1,326,731,470.97 (One Billion, Three Hundred and Twenty Six Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty One Thousand, Four Hundred and Seventy Naira, Ninety Seven Kobo Only) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same section.

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Count two of the charges reads: “That you, HADI ABUBAKAR SIRIKA, while being the Minister of Aviation between April, 2022 and March, 2023, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, did use your position to confer unfair advantage upon AL BURAQ GLOBAL INVESTMENT LTD whose alter ego FATIMA HADI SIRIKA and JALAL SULE HAMMA are your daughter and son-in-law respectively by using your position to influence the award to them, the contract for the Apron Extension at Katsina Airport for the sum of N1,498,300,750.00 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety Eight Million, Three Hundred Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty Naira Only) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same Section.

As the defendants were taken to the dock, lead prosecution counsel,  Rotimi Jacobs, SAN,  informed the court of an amended six count charges and prayed that the defendants be allowed to take their  pleas.  All the four defence  counsels ,  Kanu Agabi, SAN( Counsel to Hadi Sirika, 1st defendant,  Mohmud Magaji, SAN, Counsel to Fatima Sirika, 2nd defendant,  M.J Numa, SAN,  Counsel to Jalal Homma, 3rd defendant and Okpai Benard Addafu,  SAN, Counsel to Al Buraq Global Investment, 4th defendant) did not object to the prayer and Justice Oriji  ruled that the defendants should take their pleas.

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Thereafter,   all the defendants pleaded not guilty to their charges when they were read to them.  Following their pleas, all the defence counsels reminded the court of bail applications before it and the prosecution counsel did not oppose the applications.

Justice Oriji consequently admitted all the four defendants to bail in the sum of N100million( One Hundred Million Naira only) each,  with two sureties each.  Sureties should have landed properties in Abuja with Certificates of Occupancy signed  by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.  All the sureties should depose to affidavits of means.  All the four defendants should not travel outside the country without the leave of the court.  He remanded all the defendants at the Kuje Correctional Centre until they meet the bail conditions.   He also adjourned the matter till June 10, 11 and 20  for commencement of trial.

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