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HomeMetro NewsEx-Aviation Minister Sirika and brother slapped with N19.4 bln fresh fraud charges

Ex-Aviation Minister Sirika and brother slapped with N19.4 bln fresh fraud charges

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By Temi Olowu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed fresh fraud charges against former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, his brother Ahmad Sirika, and their company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, alleging a N19.4 billion in fraudulent activities.

The charges stem from a series of aviation ministry contracts purportedly awarded by the ex-minister to Enginos Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Sirika’s sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

Scheduled for arraignment before Justice Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Garki, Abuja, today (Tuesday), this marks the second criminal charge brought by the EFCC against the embattled former minister.

Just last week, Sirika found himself in the legal crosshairs, facing allegations of N2.7 billion in fraud before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.

The initial charges roped in Sirika’s daughter, Fatimah, brother-in-law Jalal Hamma, and Al-Buraq Investment Ltd.

Despite pleading not guilty, they were each granted bail of N100 million, with stringent travel restrictions.

Now, insiders reveal that the EFCC has filed a fresh legal onslaught against Sirika, alleging a staggering N19.4 billion in fraudulent activities.

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The charges paint a damning picture of Sirika’s alleged abuse of power and influence during his tenure as Minister of Aviation.

In one count, Sirika stands accused of leveraging his position to favor Enginos Nigeria Limited, resulting in the award of lucrative contracts for projects such as the construction of a terminal building at Katsina Airport, among others.

Also, one of the counts reads; “That you Hadi Sirika and Enginos Nigeria Limited between August, 2022 and May, 2023 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, had possession of an aggregate sum of N2.337billion, which sum you knew indirectly represented the proceeds of criminal conducts of Ahmad Sirika, who was 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; and two other charges.

Another of the charges reads; “That you Hadi Sirika, while being Minister of Aviation, on or about 5 May 2023, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, did use your position to confer unfair advantage upon Enginos Nigeria Limited whose alter ego, Ahmad Sirika is your blood brother, by using your position to influence the award to them, the contract for the Procurement and Installation of Lift and Air Conditioners and Power Generators for Aviation House, Abuja for the sum of N615.195million and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same section.

The charges further allege a series of corrupt practices, including the procurement of lift and air conditioning systems, power generators, and the misappropriation of substantial sums, all purportedly orchestrated by Sirika and his accomplices.

The EFCC’s actions shed light on the intricate web of corruption allegations entangling the former aviation minister and his associates.

The arrest and detention of Sirika’s younger brother, Abubakar, in connection with suspicious financial transactions further deepen the legal quagmire surrounding the Sirika family.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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