Home News EFCC Opens N2.8 Billion Fraud Case Against Ex-Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika and Family
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EFCC Opens N2.8 Billion Fraud Case Against Ex-Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika and Family

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N2.8 Billion Nigeria Air Fraud: EFCC Opens Case Against Ex-Aviation Minister, Sirika Family

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) announced its decision to open an alleged N2.8 billion fraud case against ex-aviation minister Hadi Sirika.

On Monday, the commission reportedly initiated the legal process, opening the alleged fraud case at the Maitama Division of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.

According to the NAN, the Sirika family, including his daughter Fatima, his son-in-law Jalal Sule Hamma, and Al-Duraq Investment Ltd., are standing trial before Justice Sylvanus Oriji on six counts of abuse of office and contract fraud.

Testifying at the hearing, a subpoenaed EFCC first witness, Azubuike Okorie, when led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), stated that he was responsible for monitoring and evaluating projects as a special assistant.

He retired as an employee of the Federal Ministry of Aviation, where he was the director of Procurement, Special Assistant to the Honorable Minister of Projects (2022-2023), and chairman of the Project Implementation Committee.

During the hearing, Okorie was asked what he knew about the contract with Al-Duraq Global Investment and the Federal Ministry.

[Sic] I was not involved in contracts, and my committee is also not involved in awarding contracts, he said.

Also, on how he got the exhibit tagged “List, 2021 Projects,” he said,

These documents were the ones the then minister asked me to send to the Permanent Secretary, and I did that by making photocopies.

Let me answer it this way: “these documents were given to me. I was not there when he wrote on them, but I will assume the minister (Sirika) wrote in red because only ministers write in red,” he added.

He said he saw N800 million against Al-Duraq Global Investment Limited and Apron Expansion and was aware the contract was given to the above company.

Mr Okorie added that before a contract is awarded, the user’s agency, in this case, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), would have secured the land.

Well, the team of the Project Implementation Committee came in contact with Al-Duraq in Kastina when we went for project monitoring and implementation at Kastina airport.

When we got there, because we had a list of other contractors who were supposed to be on the ground, including Al-Duraq, we did not find any of them on site then, he said.

The witness further said that, to the best of his knowledge, the contract was not executed when he left civil service on May 23, 2023.

When asked if he knew that the fourth defendant had been paid 100 per cent before he left office, he told the court that he was only aware of the 30 per cent mobilisation fee they had been paid.

He added that he was not involved in payments as the committee chairman.

[Sic] As a former director, what I know is that payments were made in stages, he said.

Mr Jacobs told the court that that was all for the witness.

Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel for Mr Sirika (first defendant), told the court that he was just served with the papers today and needed time to review them.

I beg, let’s come back tomorrow,” he said.

Mahmoud Magaji, SAN for Ms Fatima (second defendant) and Michael Numa (SAN) for Al-Duraq Investment, allied with him.

The prosecution counsel, Mr Jacobs, did not object to their prayer.

Justice Oriji then adjourned until Tuesday for cross-examination and continuation of trial.

Read more: Rivers Community Shuts Down Agip Oil Office Over Neglect and Broken Promises

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