Former Aviation Minister and Daughter Face Court in N2.7 Billion Fraud Case

The immediate-past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, along with his daughter, Fatimah, were arraigned before the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on charges of fraud amounting to N2.7 billion. The court session on Thursday saw the duo facing allegations of financial impropriety during Sirika’s tenure as minister.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has brought forward a six-count amended charge against Sirika, his daughter, and son-in-law, Jalal Hamma, who were all present in court. The charges revolve around the misuse of office and the misappropriation of funds, specifically relating to a consultancy contract for the Nigerian Air Start-up awarded to Tianero Nigeria Limited, and the contract for the Apron Extension at Katsina Airport.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges. However, the presiding judge, Justice Sylvanus Orji, imposed a travel ban on the accused, barring them from leaving the country pending the conclusion of the trial. The court granted bail to each defendant in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum, under the condition that one of the sureties must own a landed property within the Federal Capital Territory.

The EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, urged the court for an expeditious hearing, citing the defendants’ previous failure to report to the commission on April 19 as scheduled. In contrast, the defense counsel pleaded for leniency and bail on self-recognition, highlighting that one of the defendants is a nursing mother.

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