N2.7bn Fraud Trial: Ex-Director Testifies Against Former Aviation Minister Sirika


The N2.7 billion contract fraud trial of former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika commenced on Monday with testimony from Azubuike Okorie, a former Director of Procurement at the Federal Ministry of Aviation.

Sirika, along with his daughter Fatima, his son-in-law Jalal Hamma, and their company Al-Buraq Investment Limited, faces six counts of contract fraud. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleges that Sirika abused his office to award contracts to his relatives and their company.

During the proceedings at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, Okorie, led in evidence by EFCC counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), testified that the N1.4 billion Apron Extension contract at Katsina Airport remained unexecuted when he retired from civil service on May 23, 2023.

“To the best of my knowledge, the contract was not executed as of May 23, 2023,” Okorie told Justice Sylvanus Oriji.

Okorie, who also served as Special Assistant on Projects to Sirika and chaired the Project Implementation Committee responsible for project monitoring and evaluation, identified Al-Buraq Investment Limited as a contractor for the Katsina Airport project. However, during a site visit, his committee found no contractors present.

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

He explained that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) needed to secure land with a Certificate of Occupancy before awarding the contract. Conflicts between the Nigerian Air Force and FAAN delayed land acquisition, preventing contractors from starting work.

Okorie confirmed that Al-Buraq had received a 30 percent mobilization fee but noted that he was not involved in payments, which are made in stages until contract completion.

Following Okorie’s testimony, the defense counsel, led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), requested an adjournment to cross-examine the witness. The court granted the request.

Mike Ojo

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