EFCC Opens N2.6 Billion Fraud Case Against Former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika and Others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commenced its case of alleged N2.6 billion fraud against former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, and three others in a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama on Monday.

Sirika, his daughter Fatima, Jalal Sule Hamma, and Al-Duraq Investment Limited face charges of abuse of office and contract fraud. The defendants are standing trial before Justice Sylvanus Oriji on six counts.

At the hearing, Azubuike Okorie, a subpoenaed EFCC witness and former Director of Procurement and Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation (2022-2023), testified as the prosecution's first witness. 

Okorie explained his role in monitoring and evaluating projects as part of the Project Implementation Committee.

During the examination by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, Okorie stated, "The Project Implementation Committee ensures the execution of projects," and clarified that neither he nor his committee was involved in awarding contracts.

Okorie detailed his involvement with documents tagged "List, 2021 Projects," which he was asked to send to the Permanent Secretary by the then Minister. 

He identified an entry showing N800 million allocated to Al-Duraq Global Investment Limited for Apron Expansion, acknowledging the contract was awarded to the company.

Okorie recounted that during a project monitoring visit to Katsina airport, the Project Implementation Committee found no contractors, including Al-Duraq, on-site. 

He confirmed that as of his retirement on May 23, 2023, the contract remained unexecuted and only a 30 percent mobilization fee had been paid to Al-Duraq.

The defense, led by Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, for Sirika, requested an adjournment to review newly served papers. 

The prosecution did not object, and Justice Oriji adjourned the case until Tuesday for cross-examination and continuation of the trial.

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