N3.97b fraud: FG to call more witnesses against Badeh

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After calling six prosecution witnesses, the Federal Government, yesterday, told a Federal High Court that it has four additional witnesses to prove the allegation of money laundering brought against the former Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh and Iyalikam Nigeria Limited.

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Badeh and his company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited are standing trial on a10-count charge for allegedly abusing his office, by using the dollar equivalent of N3.97 billion removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja, between January and December, 2013

Already, the sixth prosecution witness (PW6), Air Commodore Mohammed Lawal Sini, concluded his evidence yesterday, after which he was cross-examined by counsel to the first and second defendants, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) and Sam Ologorisa, respectively.

Sini, who is presently a director in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) told the court, under cross-examination, that the N120 million earlier referred to by the first prosecution witness, Air Commodore S. A. Yushau in his testimony, was being allocated for the running of the official duties of the Air House (Official residence of the Chief of Air Staff), which included movements of the Chief of Air Staff, maintenance of the Air House and any task related to the Air House that Yushau gives from time to time.

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The witness said, “the disbursement of the funds on monthly basis was being done according to the instruction of my director”, explaining that, “if the Chief of Air Staff is travelling, for instance, my director approves what is to be given for the trip”

Sini, on Tuesday, gave the court details of events that occurred when he was the Camp Finance Officer, (CFO), 106 Camp, in 2012.

106 Camp, he said, was established to provide administrative services to NAF HQ complex, the Air House and other Air Force units within Abuja. He added that he reported to the Director of Finance and Accounts (DFA) then, Air Commodore S. A. Yushau, (PW1), within the headquarters.

“I took instructions from him with respect to financial operations within the Unit. Squadron Leader E. N. Abu was the cashier, my subordinate. 106 Camp receives funds from NAF procurement,” he told the court, while giving details on how N558 million Nigerian Air Force funds was converted to personal use while Badeh held sway as Chief of Air Staff.

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The court, on Tuesday, admitted in evidence, documents showing payments to contractors allegedly working for the former Chief of Air Staff after the testimony PW 6, who 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.

“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, is the cashier, Squadron Leader E.N. Abu, who takes instruction from me, while I take instruction from the DFA.

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“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.

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

The offence for which Badeh is facing trial, along with Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, contravenes Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended), and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

The matter was adjourned till October 27, November 2 and 3, 2016 for continuation of trial.

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