Alex Enumah in Abuja
A prosecution witness and former Director of Finance and Account of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Aliyu Yishau (rtd), for the second time monday insisted that the former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, gave him verbal instructions to carry out all his transactions.
Yishau made the revelations during a cross-examination by lead counsel to Badeh, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN).
At the resumed trial monday, Yishau told the court under cross-examination that even though he was aware of the financial regulation for public service which stipulates that all expenses should be documented , he could not request for documentary authorisation because things operate differently in the military.
“By virtue of your experience, when payment are authorised, it is necessary to have it in writing,” lead counsel to the first defendant, Akin Olujimi, put it to the witness.
Responding, the witness said: “When a request for expenditure is made through the Chief of Air Staff, it has to be in writing, but if the Chief of Air Staff is making a request for expenditure, he does not put it in writing. It has been so through out the period I worked as Director of Finance and Accounts at NAF.”
Also, when asked whether the account of the Nigerian Air Force was audited annually by the Auditor-General of the Federation and being the DFA, he has a duty to justify every expenditure with appropriate document, the witness however, responded by stating that the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) does not need to justify his request for any expenditure, adding that the fund was already earmarked for the office of the CAS.
He went further to say: “If the CAS asked me to buy a N50million car for his friend, he does not need to write, and I will not question his request because he is the chief accounting officer, that is how we operate in the military.”
Olujimi then asked the witness if he was aware of the Financial Regulations Document for Public Service. He said yes, but admitted that he did not ask Badeh to put into writing the instruction in respect of the alleged properties, when asked whether, the document stated that he should not ask Badeh to put into writing request for expenditure.
However, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, was forced to adjourn the trial midway after the prosecution counsel requested that the witness be given his statement to go through in order to refresh his memory on the new line of questioning.
The trial was adjourned to today to enable the prosecution get the certified statement of the witness.
Badeh and a company were also accused of removing from the accounts of the NAF, and did use dollar equivalent of N650 million to purchase a commercial plot at plot 1386, Oda crescent Cadastral zone Ao7 Wuse ll Abuja.
The offence, the EFCC said, is contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
The defendants were said to have between March 28 and December 2013, in Abuja used an aggregate sum of N878,362,732.94 removed from NAF accounts and paid into account of Rytebuilders Technologies Limited with Zenith Bank Plc for the construction of a shopping mall in plot 1386, Cadastral zone.