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EFCC to arraign former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, others on Thursday

.As Commission arraigns Zamfara Court registrar for alleged forgery, misappropriation

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is to arraign former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, before Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maitama on Thursday.

Sirika, a minister in the administration of former president Muhammadu Buhari, would be arraigned on a six -count amended charge.

He will be arraigned alongside three others, including his daughter, Fatima; Jalal Hamma and Al-Duraq Investment Ltd, for abuse of office to the tune of N2.7billion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that as part of EFCC investigations into the financial malfeasance allegedly committed by the former minister, “ including fraudulent contracts awarded by the ministry under his watch, had on April 23 detained him in Abuja’’.

Sirika was invited by the Abuja Zonal Command of the commission on the alleged contract malfeasance and was promptly interrogated and detained at the Formella Street, Wuse 2 Zonal office of the Commission.

“The former minister (Sirika) was invited for questioning by investigators handling the alleged contract frauds under his watch in the ministry. He honoured the invitation and has been detained as I am talking with you,” a source in the EFCC who pleaded anonymous told NAN’’.

The source also said that EFCC had been investigating the alleged contract frauds while the minister was in office, and he had even met with investigators before he was detained.

NAN reports that the arraignment was earlier slated to hold on Tuesday but due to EFCC prayer to amend the charge, a new date was given.

In a similar development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned Abubakar Dandare, a Registrar of the Upper Sharia Court in Gusau, Zamfara for alleged forgery and misappropriation of dead man’s N3.8million.

The EFCC Counsel, Mr. Peter Attah, told the court that Dandare committed the offence on Dec. 4, 2012.

He said the defendant while being entrusted with the N3. 8 million retention fee paid by the Zamfara  Ministry of Finance for the family of late Alhaji Ladan Mada, dishonestly misappropriated the money.

The EFCC said that the offence of criminal breach of trust is contrary to section 311 of the Penal Code CAP 89 Laws of Northern Nigeria 1963 and is punishable under section 312 of the same law.

Attah also alleged that Dandare forged the signature of Mada on the Court Cash Deposit register of the court to intent the money.

The offence, the prosecution said is contrary to section 363 of the penal code CAP 89 Laws of the Northern Nigeria 1963 and punishable under Section 364 of the same law.

The Defence Counsel, Mr. Bello Umar, observed that the laws in which the accused was arraigned before the court were all repealed following the passage of the Zamfara 2022 penal code.

He therefore prayed the court to dismiss the case.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Bello Shinkafi, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N5million and two sureties in like sum.

The judge also ordered the sureties must deposit two passport photos and their phone numbers with the court.

He adjourned the case until June 6, 2024 for further mention.

 

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