The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday disclosed that it seized $1 million from a former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd). The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), made the disclosure while opposing the bail application for Badeh at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The former CDS had in a statement by his lawyer, Samuel Zibiri (SAN), denied that $1 million was recovered from his house by the anti-graft agency Jacobs submitted that there is evidence that the defendant obtained huge sums of money belonging to Nigeria Air Force (NAF) and converted it to dollar equivalent to purchase a property. The EFCC’s counsel added that the anti-graft agency discovered and seized the sum of $1 million cash in one of the rooms in a property belonging to the former CDS.
The anti-graft agency stated that the money will be tendered at the appropriate time. Jacobs also submitted that the prosecution will be presenting as part of its witnesses, some of the subordinates of the ex- CDS, adding that such is enough for him (Badeh) to run away so as to avoid trial.
The Federal Government insisted that it has a very strong prima facie case against Badeh who is standing trial over alleged N3.9 billion fraud and hence asked the court to refuse him bail.
However, the Federal High Court admitted Badeh to bail in the sum of N2 billion, with two sureties in the sum of N1 billion each.
Badeh had pleaded not guilty to the charge and his bail application argued. Delivering ruling, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, held that the two sureties must residence in Abuja and be owners of landed properties with Certificate of Occupancy, which is valued at N1 billion. The court further held that the registrar of the court will confirm the genuineness of the landed papers, so also the EFCC should do so within 24 hours that the papers are brought.
He added that surety should present three years’ tax clearance and also depose to an affidavit of means. The sureties are also to submit their recent passports and also tell the court the means by which they will pay the bail sum if in the event they are called to do so.
The court also instructed the EFCC to get the location of the sureties’ residents in Abuja.
However, the court discountenanced the argument of the prosecution that Badeh will jump bail if granted due to the gravity of the evidence against him.
The court held that submission of the prosecution is speculative and the security agency knows what to do in the event such happened.
He further held that Badeh is presumed innocent, until it is proved otherwise by the court, adding that the prosecution is saddled with burden of proof. He, however, noted that the court is expected to balance the rights of the defendant and the fear of the prosecution that the defendant will jump bail. Justice Abang, however, held that his ruling was to balance the justice on both sides.
The EFCC had, on Monday, arraigned the former CDS on a 10-count charge bothering on alleged diversion of about N4 billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). Badeh had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was consequently remanded in Kuje prisons pending the determination of his bail application.
At the resumed hearing of the bail application yesterday, Badeh, through his counsel, Samuel Zibiri (SAN), prayed the court to admit the defendant to bail. Badeh was not in court when the bail application was argued and no reason was given for his absence.
Zibiri premised his application on the provisions of Section 6 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 165(1) and (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, submitting that the defendant is entitled to bail. The court had, at the last adjourned date, said that proper trial of the case will start on March 14.
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