I stand by my words, witness in Badeh’s trial tells court

Former Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh . Photo Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

Former Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh . Photo Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

The fourth prosecution witness in the trial of Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Mustapha Yerima, yesterday told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that he stood by his earlier statements to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This was at the continuation of cross-examination of the witness by the defence counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN).The witness told the court that he stood by his statements to the EFCC that the former Director of Finance and Account, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Commodore Abdullahi Yushau (retired) made the sum of N650 million cash available for the payment of plot 1386, Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, where the shopping mall was constructed for the former Defence Chief.

The witness also told the court that he wrote five statements before the EFCC on January 6, 12, 18, February 5 and 10, respectively. According to him, the statements were all honestly written and he stood by all of them.

The witness, who told the court that he was a builder added that the First Prosecution Witness (PW1), Yushau, brought the N650 million, the cost price of the plot of land in cash and in one installment, which he paid at once to the owner of the land.

Yerima told the court that anytime Air Commodore Yushau (rtd), engaged them in the assignment of construction, he kept telling them that the assignment was for his boss.

Earlier, the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling on the objection by the Prosecuting Counsel, Tayo Olukotu, to the line of cross- examination by Badeh’s counsel, held that for the defence counsel to cross-examine the witness on his statements to the EFCC, he (Olujimi) ought to have tendered the statement as exhibits before the court.

According to the judge, the purpose of the defence asking a witness question is to know whether his statement to the investigation body contradicts his evidence before the court.

“It is not sufficient to hold that when a witness denies a statement before it can be tendered as exhibit before the court as submitted by the counsel to the first defendant.

“The objection of the prosecution is sustained. Defence shall tender the statements as exhibits before the witness can be cross-examined on them,” Abang held.

The judge thereby adjourned the matter till today for further cross-examination of the fourth prosecution witness.EFCC is prosecuting Badeh alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited on a 10-count charge of money laundering.

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