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N19.4bn fraud: Sirika, brother’s absence stalls arraignment

N19.4bn fraud: Sirika, brother’s absence stalls arraignment

The scheduled arraignment of the former minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, his brother, Ahmad Sirika and company – Enginos Nigeria Limited, before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Garki, Abuja, on Monday, was stalled due to the defendants’ absence.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s, lawyer, O.A. Atolagbe, informed the court that the defendant’s counsel had appealed that the arraignment be adjourned subject to the judgment of the court as the defendants couldn’t make it to court for a couple of reasons.

He said the defendants haven’t been served and they are also not within the city as they were granted administrative bail.

He said, “The defendants are not in court. They are not able to make it to the court this morning but they have not been served and are not within Abuja and could not make it into town this morning.

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“The defendant’s counsel reached out to the prosecution that the defendants will be pleading for an adjournment so that they can be served with the charge and take their plea. The defendants are not in custody because they were granted administrative bail. With the intervention of their counsel, they are asking for some time.”

The defendants’ counsel, Olaniyi Anjorin, apologised to the court for his client’s absence.

“Your lordship I want to sincerely apologise for the absence of the defendants,” he said.


Justice Suleiman Belgore accordingly, adjourned the matter to May 23 for arraignment of the defendants.

Sirika, his brother, Ahmad and his company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, are facing an eight-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 and March 2023 in Abuja.

Abubakar 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 owned by Ahmad Sirika,

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 having 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 Nigerian Limited’s bank account by the former minister.

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

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 Orji 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 pled not guilty to the charges and were granted 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.

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