₦19.4 Billion Fraud: Court grants Sirika, brother N200 million bail

The immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and his brother, Ahmad Abubakar Sirika, were on Thursday, May 23, granted bail by Justice Suleiman Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court.

The bail was set at ₦100 million each, with stringent conditions attached, reflecting the seriousness of the charges against them.

Both defendants are required to provide two sureties, one of whom must own a landed property within the Federal Capital Territory, valued at a similar sum.

In addition to the financial conditions, the court has restricted their travel, stipulating that the Sirika brothers cannot leave Nigeria without prior permission from the court.

This decision comes after careful consideration of the bail application, with Justice Belgore stating he found no reason to deviate from the bail conditions previously granted by Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the same court.

Ruling on the motion on notice for the 1st defendant, Hadi Sirika, the court held that “The prosecution filed no counter affidavit. He is already on administrative bail, he met all the bail applications, he continues to abide by the bail conditions, he has never been convicted of any criminal offence in Nigeria, he is a recipient of National honours, he has an aged mother he is catering for an investigation in the case has been completed.

“It is my resolution that this applicant deserves to be admitted to bail and I so do.”

Concerning Sirika’s brother, ruling on the motion on notice, brought pursuant to Sections 158, 156 and 135 of ACJA, where he requested a sole relief (bail).

The trial judge granted him bail in the same terms and conditions as the 1st defendant (Sirika).

The Sirika brothers, and the company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, are facing a ten-count amended charge bordering on contract fraud to the tune of ₦19.4 billion.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had accused Sirika of conferring undue advantage on his brother and his company, Enginos Nigeria Limited.

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

After the duo were docked, the EFCC had read out the charges to them, which they pled not guilty to.

Sirika’s lawyer, Micheal Noma (SAN), appealed to the court to grant his client bail.

Likewise Ahmad’s lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN). He pleaded with the court to grant the 2nd defendant bail as he is a responsible citizen of Nigeria.

Noma said, “We urge your lordship to please grant the defendants bail.”

Magaji while putting out his grounds on why his client should be granted bail said, “The second defendant filed an application seeking the indulgence of this honourable court for bail.

“The said application is dated and filed May 20, 2024. We have served the complainants. The application is brought pursuant to Section 168, Section 162 and Section 163 of the ACJA 2015.

“The application is praying for the following orders. The order of this honourable court asking the defendant to bail pending the hearing and determination of this trial.

“Our application is predicated on 10 grounds. The application is also supported by an 18-paragraph affidavit. My lord the 2nd defendant himself, deposed to the affidavit. we seek to rely on all the deposition herein on page 8. We pray your lordship to grant all the deposition”.

Ahmad through his lawyer further appealed saying, “We urge your lordship to grant the application as prayed. The prosecution has not filed a counter. That to me shows the prosecution wants to quickly prove their case on the 2nd defendant.

“The 2nd Defendant has enjoyed administrative bail from the complainant and has always showed up when called upon or necessary”.

Magaji, citing Paragraph 8 in the affidavit told the court that his client is a responsible citizen.

He stated, “as stated in paragraph 8 of the affidavit it says I am a willing and responsible citizen of Nigeria.”

He also claimed Ahmad is a civil servant who is not politically exposed.

The EFCC counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, did not object to the bail application.

He said, “My Lord, no objection to bail. The agency already granted administrative bail that is why we feel it will be okay to grant him bail”.

He, however, added, “The bail that will be granted to the defendants, should be what will guarantee the availability of the defendants”.

He also said the court is not obliged to grant the bail application in the same manner as its brother court at FCT, Maitama.

“My lord is not bound by whatever your learned brother has imposed for condition”

The court fixed May 28 and 29 for trial.

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