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‘N2.7bn contract fraud’: Court grants Sirika, daughter N200m bail

‘N2.7bn contract fraud’: Court grants Sirika, daughter N200m bail
May 09
10:39 2024

Hadi Sirika, former minister of aviation, has been arraigned alongside his daughter at the federal capital territory (FCT) high court in Maitama. 

The ex-minister and Fatima, his daughter, were also granted bail in the sum of N100 million each.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Sirika on a six-count amended charge bordering on an alleged N2.7 billion contract fraud.

The EFCC had reportedly detained Sirika on April 23 pending his arraignment. 

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The anti-graft agency began investigating the alleged contract fraud case against Sirika while he was still in office. He also reportedly met with investigators at the time.

The arraignment, which was earlier slated for Tuesday, was rescheduled to Thursday due to an EFCC prayer to amend the charge.

Sirika was aviation minister in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration from 2019 to 2023.

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DEFENDANTS PLEAD NOT GUILTY

During proceedings on Thursday, Sirika alongside Fatima, his daughter; Jalal Hamma, his son-in-law; and Al-Duraq Investment Ltd; pleaded not guilty to the six-count charges preferred against them before Sylvanus Oriji, the presiding judge.

Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the EFCC, prayed that the case be given accelerated hearing.

Jacobs said the defendants were earlier granted bail by the commission, and were asked to return to the EFCC office on April 19 for interrogation, but failed to do so.

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He added that the court should ensure that they continue to appear for trial in order not to delay the case unnecessarily.

Kanu Agabi, Sirika’s counsel, pleaded for leniency and mercy from the judge while the bail application was being considered.

He also asked that Sirika be granted bail on self-recognition.

Mahmoud Magaji, counsel to Fatima, said his client is a nursing mother and should be granted bail on “extremely liberal grounds”.

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BAIL CONDITIONS

Oriji granted bail to the three defendants in the sum of N100 million each, with two sureties in like sum.

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The sureties must be “responsible citizens” and resident within the FCT, Oriji stated.

“They must have landed properties within Abuja municipal area council and be covered by a Certificate of Occupancy that must be verifiable,” Oriji said.

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“They must submit copies of their identity cards and photocopies of their international passports to the court.

“The defendants must also not travel out of the country during the pendency of the case without the permission of the court.”

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Oriji added that should any of the defendants fail to fulfil the bail conditions, they will be remanded in a correctional centre.

The case was thereafter adjourned to June 10, 11 and 20 for trial.

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