EFCC stalls re-arraignment of Sirika, others on fresh charges

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

Sirika and two others were supposed to be arraigned by the EFCC for allegations of financial malpractice relating to the bungled 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.

The scheduled arraignment is coming barely a week after Sirika was arraigned before Justice Sylvanus Oriji, also of the FCT High Court, sitting at Maitama on an alleged N4.14billion fraud.

He was arraigned alongside his daughter, Fatima Hadi Sirika, 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 offense allegedly committed by the former minister and others, according to the prosecution, were contrary to Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, to Section 17 (b) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

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

They were subsequently granted bail in the sum of N100 million, each with two sureties in the sum.

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