Alex Enumah in Abuja
The fourth prosecution witness (PW4) in the ongoing trial of former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh (rtd), over allegations of corruption and diversion of funds belonging to the Nigerian Air Force, Mr. Mustapha Yerima, yesterday told a Federal High Court how he got the sum of over N400million as mobilisation to commence the construction of a shopping mall allegedly owned by Badeh.
Yerima made the disclosure tuesday while giving his evidence, led by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), at the resumption of the trial tuesday.
Yerima said, the money was given to him by Air Commodore Abdullahi Yushau following the presentation of a bill of quantity for the construction of the shopping mall.
According to the witness, the sum of N1.2 billion was given in the bill of quantity to Yushau, who asked him to give him some time to discuss with his boss Badeh.
“Yushau collected the bill and said he will get back to me. He later called us to work out modalities on how to start the project,” the witness said. Adding that Yushau was also given a payment schedule to provide him with an understanding of what would be paid at each stage.
Yerima said further that after they received the first mobilisation from Yushau, another sum of over N300 million in dollar equivalent was received before construction of the mall was started.
The witness further stated that at each stage of the project, they prepare a progress report which according to Yushau was submitted to the former air force chief.
Yerima however disclosed that at a time, during the construction of the project, Yushau called them for a meeting where they were informed that payments on the project would henceforth come from the Nigerian Air Force.
“He then introduces me to Air Commodore Sinni who happened to be the Chief Financial Officer, the one in charge of payment. Soon after that, we started receiving our payments from NAF. We were paid a total of about N860 to 880m by the Nigerian Air Force.”
Yerima however stated that the pace of the job slowed down at a time, due to variation in the prices of materials as well as the discovery of some items that were not originally incorporated into the bill.
He said when they approached Yushau with the challenge; he in turn confronted them with his own predicament.
“I understand there was pressure on him from his boss, because he (Yushau) needed to complete the job before going on retirement,” Yerima said.
He added: “Few days later, Yushau called me for a meeting, this time with Alex Badeh Junior in Yushau’s house. He told me that since he had retired, he would not have much to do in Abuja and that Alex Junior would be over-seeing the project.
He disclosed that Alex Junior made some modification in the fifth floor, which according to him he wanted to use as a restaurant.
The witness was however stopped mid-way by the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, who adjourned to enable the court attend to other matters. The matter will be heard again today.