Badeh diverted N3.7b to personal use, witness tells court

Former Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh in Court on Monday, March 7, 2016. Photo Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

Former Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh in Court on Monday, March 7, 2016. Photo Ladidi Lucy Elukpo.

A witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday narrated how former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh authorised the transfer of funds which he later diverted to his personal use.

Testifying before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, the witness, Air Commodore Abdullahi Yushau, former Director, Finance, Nigerian Air Force, stated during a cross-examination by the Defence Counsel, Akin Olujimi (SAN), that no money goes out of the accounts of Nigerian Airforce without the authorization of the Chief of Staff.

“When documents of transactions are sent to the Chief of Air Staff, he usually authorizes them. The balance of the salaries and allowances of Personnel Allocation of the Nigerian Air Force was used for the servicing of the Office of the Chief of Air Staff”, he said.

The retired Director of Finance had at the previous sitting, told the court that monies meant for personnel allowances and salaries were converted into dollars and that he personally delivered the money to Badeh in his then official residence at the Niger Barracks.

He said: “What is remaining is usually about N1.6 billion and N1.7 billion, out of which the sum of N558,200,000 was usually taken to Badeh’s official residence at the Niger arracks in Abuja”.

The witness equally disclosed that the N558,200,000 was under the control of Badeh which he usually gave approval for so that it could be changed into US dollars and taken to his official residence.

Meanwhile, Justice Okon Abang had adjourned the matter till April 8 for the continuation of the cross-examination of witness.

This was to allow the court take the next case which was of the National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh.

But before then, the court had varied the bail conditions for Badeh, directing that only the Chief Registrar of the court should verify the documents and the market value of properties presented by Badeh’s sureties.

This was after the counsel to Badeh , Olujimi had applied for order, varying the terms of the bail. He also explained to the court that EFCC has failed to comply with the order to verify the properties of the sureties together with the court’s Chief Registrar.

The judge had granted bail to Badeh to the tune of N2 billion and two sureties in the sum of N1 billion each. The judge also stated that the sureties must be resident in Abuja and must be property owners with requisite Certificates-of-Occupancy.

He equally directed the Chief Registrar and the EFCC to ascertain the market values of the properties with the FCT Administration within 24 hours. The Judge also ordered the sureties to deposit evidence of tax clearance for three years and two recent passport photographs.

The Judge said Defence Counsels ought to have brought contempt proceedings against the principal officer of the EFCC for disobeying Court order.

“Under the Disciplinary Jurisdiction of the Court in Section 287 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, the Court must ensure that its order is not ridiculed or disparaged by anybody”, he said.

Abang further argued that the terms have been complied with except those meant for the anti-graft Commission, stressing that the development has made it difficult for the Defendant to leave Kuje Prison.

At the beginning of the day, the Courtroom was besieged by armed Police Officers. Not comfortable with the tensed atmosphere, Olujimi enquired of the Judge to explain the presence of armed men, which he said, could affect dispensation of justice.
At that instance, the man were asked to leave the courtroom by the presiding Judge, Justice Abang.

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