• News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: May 23, 2024

Court grants Sirika, brother bail following N19.4bn fraud charges

Court grants Sirika, brother bail following N19.4bn fraud ch

On Thursday, Justice Suleiman Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court granted bail to Hadi Sirika, the former minister of aviation, and his brother, Ahmad Abubakar Sirika in the amount of N100 million each with two sureties.

One of the sureties must own a landed property in the Federal Capital Territory in an equal amount. The court further ordered that the defendants not leave Nigeria without the court's consent.

During his verdict on the bail application, Justice Belgore stated, "I see no reason to depart from the conditions granted by my learned brother".

He then granted them bail under the same conditions as Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

In ruling on the application on notice for the first defendant, Hadi Sirika, the court stated that "the prosecution filed no counter affidavit." He is already on administrative bail, he has met all of the bail applications, he continues to abide by the bail conditions, he has never been convicted of a criminal offence in Nigeria, he is a recipient of National honours, he has an elderly mother for whom he is caring, and the investigation into the case is complete.

"I believe that this applicant deserves to be admitted to bail," Justice Belgore declared.

Regarding Sirika's brother, ruling on the motion on notice, brought under 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 accusation of contract fraud totalling N19.4 billion.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accused Sirika of giving his brother and his company, Enginos Nigeria Limited, an unfair advantage.

The contracts for which the monies were paid were also reported to be voided, with no evidence of work completed yet. After the duo was docked, the EFCC read them the accusations, to which they pleaded not guilty.

Sirika's lawyer, Micheal Noma (SAN), urged the court to give his client bail. Similarly, Ahmad's attorney, Mahmud Magaji (SAN). He begged the court to grant the second defendant bail since he was a responsible citizen of Nigeria.

Noma replied, "We urge your lordship to please grant the defendant bail."

Magaji, while explaining why his client should be granted bail, stated, "The second defendant submitted an application asking 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 under 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 also claimed Ahmad is a civil servant who is not politically exposed.

The EFCC's counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, did not oppose the bail motion.

He replied, "My Lord, I have no objection to bail. The agency has previously granted administrative bail, so we believe it is appropriate to grant him bail.

"The bail that will be granted to the defendants, should be what will guarantee the availability of the defendants".

He further stated that the court is not required to issue the bail application in the same manner as its sister court in 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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