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Court grants Hadi Sirika, daughter bail in N2.7bn fraud allegation trial

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory,  Abuja has granted a former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika and two others bail following their arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for a N2.7billion contract fraud allegation trial.

Justice Sylavanus Oriji admitted Sirika and his codefendants including his daughter, Fatima, to bail in the sum of N100 million each.

The accused persons are to produce two sureties each in like sum. One of the sureties, the court saidmust own a duly certified landed property in the FCT.

The former minister is being arraigned alongside his daughter (Fatima), his son-in-law,  Jalal Hamma and a company, Al-Duraq Global Investment Limited, for contract fraud amounting to N2.7 billion. They all pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge slammed on them by the EFCC.

Among the charges against the former minister is that he conferred an unfair advantage in awarding an alleged illegal consultancy contract to Tianaero Nigeria Limited to start a national airline, Air Nigeria, and the extension of same. According to the prosecution, the firm got paid a sum of N1.3 billion for its consultancy services. The company’s alter ego, Professor Gabriel Tillman, is said to be an associate of Sirika.

The former minister is also accused of awarding a contract worth N1.4 billion for the construction of the apron for the Katsina Airport to Al-Duraq Global Investment Limited owned by his daughter and son-in-law.

In granting the accused bail on Thursday,  Justice Sylvanus Oriji said if they fail to meet the bail conditions they will have to be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre pending the time they are able to perfect the terms.

The trial judge then adjourned further proceedings to 10th, 11th and 20th May, 2024.