How Badeh laundered N558m —Witness

THE Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, admitted in evidence, documents showing payments to contractors allegedly working for former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.

This followed the testimony given by the sixth prosecution witness (PW6), Mohammed Lawan Sini, the then Camp Finance Officer of Nigerian Air Force (NAF), against Badeh when he was Chief of Air Staff.

The witness told the court that on assumption of office, he was intimated of the monthly disbursement of N558,200,000, officially earmarked for maintenance of the office of the Chief of Air Staff.

The witness told the court that on assumption of office, he was intimated of the monthly disbursement of N558,200,000, officially earmarked for maintenance of the office of the Chief of Air Staff.

He added that since he was already meant to understand that the monthly transfer was meant for official maintenance, he had no need for details on how the funds were used.

“In 2012, I was posted to Camp NAF, as the Camp Finance Officer. My schedule involved payment of salaries, operations and miscellaneous, disbursement of funds for operations and overhead expenditure of the unit.

“In relation to accounts, we pay salaries. I report to a Director of Finance and Accounts within the headquarters. I take instructions from him with respect to financial operations within the unit. With me as the CFO, he is the cashier, Squadron Leader E. N. Abu, subordinate. He takes instruction from me, while I take instruction from the DFA.

“I took over from Group Captain Ifeobu when I reported. He told me that a certain part, a figure that I can remember -N558,200,000, is meant for the official administrative maintenance of the office of the Chief of Air Staff and that I am to be reporting to Director, Finance and Account on the details of disbursement.

“After the completion of the handover, I went and tell the DFA that I have taken over and also, what Group Captain Ifeobu said about the administration of the Ration Cash Allowances (RCA), earmarked for administrative maintenance of the Chief of Air Staff.”

“We receive personal emolument from UBA account. When we receive it, we pay salaries to all personnel that we are responsible for their salaries.

“At the end of that, some amounts remain, which are paid into other accounts. I do not have full details but the ones that I can remember are with UBA, Zenith and Diamond banks.

“It is the duty of the cashier to pay these balances into the accounts for payment of operation, ration cash allowances and sundry training beats.

“These STB and RCA have some forex components which I instruct the cashier to generate whenever I receive instructions from my DFA, Air Commodore Abdullahi Yusha’u.

“I do not have the records of details of RCA but I can remember that a portion of it is earmarked for the administrative running of the office of the chief of air staff which I was instructed based on the very first day that I took over as CFO.”

The witness further told the court that the paper work carried out by his office was to generate mandate to the bank for release of the funds to enable them to execute instructions.

When asked if he knew the reason for transfer of funds to Ryte Builders’ account, he did not answer, stressing that he had no need to know since the entire fund was meant for official maintenance.

On whether he remembered what Yusha’u told him about those transactions, he said, “in my statement to the EFCC, I said that the money to be transferred to Engineer Mustapha of Ryte Builders was meant for tasks for Badeh.

“I don’t have the need to know the details of the tasks. It is only sufficient for me to know that the money to be transferred is part of N558,200,000 which I know from taking over was meant for the official administration of the office of Chief of Air Staff.”

The witness, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, also stated that he never received complaint that the money changed to dollars and handed over to Yusha’u was not delivered or incomplete.

At the end of his account, the counsel moved to tender the documents showing evidences of payment to Ryte Builders, in evidence.

But the defense counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi, asked the court to reject the document on the ground that there was no evidence of payment of any fees in the document tendered in evidence.

He, therefore, urged the court to direct that before the document was tendered in evidence, appropriate fees should be made.

After listening to both parties, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, ruled that though they were public documents, they did not fall under those that required payment of fees.

He, therefore, admitted the documents in evidence as Exhibits B6 and B7 respectively.

The trial continues today.


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