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Alleged N8.1bn Fraud: EFCC to arraign Buhari’s minister on fresh 8-count charges

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The Economic and Fnancial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will on May 23 arriagn forAviation minister,  Hadi Sirika and his brother, Ahmad before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High court, Garki, on fresh eight-count charge.

They were slated to be arraigned before Justice Suleman Belgore, but the arraignment was stalled due to the absence of Sirika and his brother in court.

EFCC had filed an eight-count charge bordering on abuse of office, criminal breach of trust, use of position for gratification against the former minister, under former President Muhammadu Buhari, his brother and a company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, .

The anti-corruption commission had alleged that Sirika did confer 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 ab 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.

Accrding 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.

When the case was called earlier , 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.

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.

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