N10bn fraud: EFCC’s arraignment of Sirika, co-defendants stalled

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was to arraign ex-Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika before Justice Suleman Belgore of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on a fresh charge, but the case was stalled due to the absence of the suspects.

Mr Sirika and two others were supposed to be arraigned by the EFCC for an offence bordering on financial malfeasance relating to the botched Nigeria Air.

The prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, informed the court that the defendants were absent, adding that he was informed by their counsel that they were out of Abuja and could not make it to court.

He, therefore, sought an adjournment to enable the defendants to attend court to take their pleas.

The court therefore adjourned until May 23 for the arraignment of Mr Sirika and others.

The scheduled arraignment is coming barely a week after Mr Sirika was arraigned before Justice Sylvanus Oriji, also of the FCT High Court, sitting at Maitama on an alleged N4.135 billion fraud.

He was arraigned alongside his daughter, Fatima Hadi Sirika, his son-in-law, Jalal Sule Hamma and the company Al Daruq Investment Limited on a six-count charge bordering on contract fraud, corruption and gratification.

The offence allegedly committed by the former minister and others, according to the prosecution, was contrary to Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and to Section 17 (b) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

The anti-graft agency also said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 315 of the Penal Code Act and Cap 532 of the Federal Capital Territory and was punishable under the same sections.

They were subsequently admitted to bail in the sum of N100 million each with two sureties in the sum.

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