HomeNewsN19.4bn Fraud: Court Grants Sirika, Brother N200m Bail

N19.4bn Fraud: Court Grants Sirika, Brother N200m Bail

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Justice Suleiman Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, on Thursday, granted the former minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika, and his brother, Ahmad Abubakar Sirika, bail in the sum of N100 million each and 2 sureties.

One of the sureties must own a landed property in the Federal Capital Territory, in like sum.

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

While delivering the ruling on the bail application, Justice Belgore held that “I see no reason to depart from the conditions granted by my learned brother”.

He then went ahead to grant them bail in the same condition as Justice Sylvanus Oriji, of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.

Ruling on the motion on notice for the 1st defendant, Hadi Sirika, the court held that “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 declared.

Concerning Sirika’s brother, ruling on the motion on notice, brought pursuant to Sections 158, 156 and 135 of ACJA, where he requested a sole relief (bail).

The trial judge granted him bail in the same terms and conditions as the 1st defendant (Sirika).

The Sirika brothers, and the company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, are facing a ten-count amended charge bordering on contract fraud to the tune of N19.4bn.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had accused Sirika of conferring undue advantage on his brother and his company, Enginos Nigeria Limited.

The contracts for which the sums were paid for, were also said to be undone with no trace of work done to date.

After the duo were docked, the EFCC had read out the charges to them, which they pled not guilty to.

Sirika’s lawyer, Micheal Noma (SAN), appealed to the court to grant his client bail.

Likewise Ahmad’s lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN). He pleaded with the court to grant the 2nd defendant bail as he is a responsible citizen of Nigeria.

Noma said, “We urge your lordship to please grant the defendants bail.”

Magaji while putting out his grounds on why his client should be granted bail said, “The second defendant filed an application seeking the indulgence of this honourable court for bail.

“The said application is dated and filed May 20, 2024. We have served the complainants. The application is brought pursuant to Section 168, Section 162 and Section 163 of the ACJA 2015.

“The application is praying for the following orders. The order of this honourable court asking the defendant to bail pending the hearing and determination of this trial.

“Our application is predicated on 10 grounds. The application is also supported by an 18-paragraph affidavit. My lord the 2nd defendant himself, deposed to the affidavit. we seek to rely on all the deposition herein on page 8. We pray your lordship to grant all the deposition”.

Ahmad through his lawyer further appealed saying, “We urge your lordship to grant the application as prayed. The prosecution has not filed a counter. That to me shows the prosecution wants to quickly prove their case on the 2nd defendant.

“The 2nd Defendant has enjoyed administrative bail from the complainant and has always showed up when called upon or necessary”.

Magaji, citing Paragraph 8 in the affidavit told the court that his client is a responsible citizen.

‘as stated in paragraph 8 of the affidavit it says I am a willing and responsible citizen of Nigeria.”

He also claimed Ahmad is a civil servant who is not politically exposed.

The EFCC counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, did not object to the bail application.

He said, “My Lord, no objection to bail. The agency already granted administrative bail that is why we feel it will be okay to grant him bail”.

He, however, added, “The bail that will be granted to the defendants, should be what will guarantee the availability of the defendants”.

He also said the court is not obliged to grant the bail application in the same manner as its brother court at FCT, Maitama.

“My lord is not bound by whatever your learned brother has imposed for condition”

The court fixed May 28 and 29 for trial.

 

Sirika, his brother, Ahmad and his company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, are facing an amended ten-count criminal charge bordering on fraud to the tune of N19.4billion.

 

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.

 

According to the anti-graft agency, 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 is said to be the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

He is also said to be the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union banks.

The anti-graft agency stated 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.

Recall 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 N2.7bn in connection with the botched Nigerian Air project.

They however pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted a total of N300M bail by the court.

Sirika was also accused of using his position to confer unfair advantage upon Tianaero Nigeria Limited, whose alter ego, is one Professor Gabriel Tilmann, who is said to be an associate of his.

Punch

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