19th July 2024
Crime & Investigation News

N2.7bn Fraud: Court Imposes Travel Ban On Sirika, Daughter

The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja,  on Thursday, barred the immediate-past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika,  his daughter, Fatimah, and son-in-law, Jalal Hamma, from travelling outside the country.

Justice Sylvanus Orji ruled that they must not leave the country pending the conclusion of their N2.7bn fraud trial.

The Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja,  on Thursday, barred the immediate-past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika,  his daughter, Fatimah, and son-in-law, Jalal Hamma, from travelling outside the country.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Thursday on six counts, bordering on N2.7bn fraud.

They were arraigned alongside Al-Buraq Investment Ltd.

The anti-graft agency alleged that Sirika abused his office by awarding a consultancy N1.3bn contract for the Nigerian Air Start-up to Tianero Nigeria Limited.

The commission said in doing that, the ex-minister acted contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

In another count, the anti-graft agency alleged that on or about August 18, 2022, in Abuja, Sirika “did use your position to confer unfair advantage upon Al Buraq Global Investment Limited, 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.”

The anti-graft agency said by so doing, Sirika violated Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and was liable to punishment under the same section.

In count three, the EFCC accused Sirika of criminal breach of trust “while being the Minister of Aviation and in such capacity as a public officer on or about August 18, 2022, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

 Following a bail application by the defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), the defendants were each granted bail in the sum of N100m with two sureties in like sum.

The judge said one of the sureties must own a landed property with valid land titles  within the Federal Capital Territory.

The judge also held that the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means while he barred the defendants from travelling outside the shores of the country without permission.

Justice Orji added that failure to fulfil the bail conditions would earn the defendants a stay in a correctional facility.

He ruled, “I admit the first, second and third defendant to bail in the sum of 100m each with two sureties of like sum.

“One of the sureties must have a landed property within the Federal Capital Territory. The defendants must not travel outside the country.

“Any of them who is unable to fulfil the bail conditions will be remanded in the correctional centre.”

The trial was subsequently fixed for June 10, 11 and 20.

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