EFCC Witness Testifies in Hadi Sirika’s N2.7bn Fraud Trial


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commenced its case in the N2.7 billion contract fraud trial involving Hadi Sirika, his daughter Fatima, his son-in-law Jalal Hamma, and Al-Buraq Investment Limited.

On Monday, the EFCC presented its first witness, Azubuike Okorie, a former director of Procurement at the Federal Ministry of Aviation. Led by EFCC lead counsel Rotimi Jacobs, Okorie testified before Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja. He revealed that the N1.4 billion Apron Extension contract at Katsina Airport was not executed as of his retirement on May 23, 2023.

Okorie, who also served as Special Assistant to the Minister, Projects, and Chairman of the Project Implementation Committee between 2022 and 2023, was responsible for monitoring and evaluating projects. He stated that Al-Buraq was awarded the contract for the Katsina Airport project but noted that when his committee visited the site, neither Al-Buraq nor any other contractors were present.

“When we arrived at Katsina Airport, we had a list of contractors including Al-Buraq, but none were on site,” Okorie testified.

He explained that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) needed to secure land for the project through a certificate of occupancy. However, conflicts between the Nigerian Air Force and FAAN hindered land acquisition, preventing contractors from starting work.

Okorie confirmed that Al-Buraq received a 30 per cent mobilization fee but could not verify if the full contract amount had been paid. “As Chairman of the Project Implementation Committee, I was not involved in payments, which are made in stages until a contract is completed,” he said.

Following Okorie’s testimony, the defense counsel, led by Kanu Agabi, requested an adjournment to review the documents presented by the EFCC. The court granted the request, adjourning the trial until Tuesday, June 11, 2024, for cross-examination.

Hadi Sirika, along with his daughter and son-in-law, faces a six-count amended criminal charge of contract fraud amounting to N2.7 billion. The charges include allegations of using his position to confer undue advantage on his relatives and Al-Buraq Investment Limited.

Mike Ojo

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