The trial of former Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh opened in Abuja yesterday with the first prosecution witness narrating how N558.2 million belonging to the Air Force was converted to dollars monthly and taken to Badeh’s house.
He said the money would later be used to buy choice property for Badeh and his children in Abuja
Testifying before a Federal High Court, the prosecution witness, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yusha’u, a retired director of finance, said one of Badeh’s sons at one time even rejected a house bought for him for N240 million.
He said the money came from N4 billion monthly allocations to the Air Force meant for personnel salaries and allowances.
He added that the practice went on like this between September 2012 and December 2013.
Yusha’u, led in evidence by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said out of the N4 billion allocations, only N2.3 billion actually used for the staff emoluments.
He added that of the outstanding N1.7 billion, N558.2 million was usually earmarked for general administration in the office of the Chief of Air Staff, Badeh.
The rest, he said, were disbursed to the various commands and units for priority projects and training.
He said each month, he and Group Captain M.S. Sini, would convert the amount controlled by the Air Force chief to dollars through the NAF Camp in Abuja and convey it to his house at Niger Barracks in Abuja.
He added that the transactions were usually without written instructions or acknowledgement.
The witness said in January 2013, Badeh directed him to buy a mansion for him at No 6 Ogun River Crescent, Maitama at the cost of N1.1 billion in the name of a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Ltd.
He said he also bought a land at Plot 1386 Oda Crescent, Cadastral Zone A, Wuse 11, Abuja for a shopping plaza at the cost of N650 million and N1 billion was paid to Rytebuilders Technologies Ltd for construction work.
He bought duplexes in Wuse 11 for Alex Badeh Jnr and Kam Badeh, the Airforce chief’s children, at the cost of N260 million and N330 million respectively through NAF bank accounts.
Kam initially rejected a Sigma Apartments semi-detached duplex at No 8 Embu Street, Abuja previously bought for him at the cost of N240 million because he did not “like the place.”
“So my chief directed that we should look for another house,” the witness said.
Yushaú said he found another house belonging to a former member of the House of Representatives, Bature, which was valued at N330 million.
But Badeh warned that he must conceal the identity of the buyer whereupon he introduced his lawyer friend, Hussein Umar, in the transaction.
“My chief agreed to pay the amount but directed that it should not be purchased in the name of Kam or his name. He told me that Bature is very close to General Aliyu Gusau and also a member of the House of Reps.” he explained.
He said Badeh directed him to send N60 million and N90 million to Platinum Universal Projects for the renovation and furnishing of Badeh Jnr’s house, another N62 to renovate a private house in Asokoro, Abuja and N150 million for the construction of Badeh’s personal house in Yola, Adamawa State.
Answering a question, the witness said the Air Force chief was entitled to about N2 million as salary
On his part, he said he never benefited anything from the errands he undertook for his boss.
Rather, he said, he had lost his property at Wuye, Abuja and two plots being developed in Kaduna explaining that they were seized by the EFCC.
After his evidence, defence counsels Samuel Zibiri and Sam Ologun-Orisa, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria, asked the court for time to cross-examine the witness.
Justice Okon Abang granted the application.
Badeh, who is still being held at the Kuje Prisons, is yet to fulfil his bail conditions.
The case has been adjourned to March 23 for continuation of hearing.
Badeh is facing a 10-count charge of criminal breach of trust and corruption alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Ltd, a company believed to be owned by him.
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