Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court hearing the case of money laundering against the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh, and Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, a company purportedly owned by Badeh has adjourned till October 27 for continuation of trial.
Trail Judge, Justice Okon Abang, adjourned proceedings at the end of cross examination of the sixth prosecution witness, Air Commodore Mohammed Lawal Sini by counsel to the first and second defendants, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) and Sam Ologun Orisa (SAN) respectively.
Badeh, alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, are been prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on a 10-count charge of money laundering, bordering on alleged fraudulent removal of about N3.97bn from NAF’s account.
The anti-graft agency accused Badeh of using the fund to buy and develop landed assets in Abuja for himself and two of his sons between January and December, 2013.
At the resumption of the matter wednesday, the witness, who is currently a director in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), had during his testimony, told the court that he disbursed monies based on the instruction of then DFA (Yushau).
“If the Chief of Air Staff is travelling, for instance, my director approves what is to be given for the trip,” he said.
On the N120m mentioned by PW1 in his evidence, the witness said the money was allocated for the running of the official duties of the Air House (Official residence of the Chief of Air Staff), which include 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.
The witness told the court that one of his duties at the unit at NAF, was to ensure that all unit of the NAF make returns in respect of their various accounts through their commands and the commands in turn, returns to NAF Headquarters from where they were sent to.
Sini further said the returns after they were received where sent to the office of the director of accounts who then go through it before forwarding to relevant government agencies, ministry of defence and the Accountant General’s office.
The witness further told the court that money paid for the Nigerian Air Force Conference Center was from savings after payment of salaries.
However, during cross examination by Olujimi, counsel to the first defendant, the witness when asked to confirm his statement that he told the court that in October 2012 he did not give any cash allowance to the then DFA (Yushau), he replied by saying, “I was not in the camp, I wish to add that payment of ration may not necessary be the time that they will pay.”
Olujimi asked further, “Since you said you were not there in October 2012, so did you pay the cash in November 2012? Witness – I cannot remember.
The witness who admitted that the record kept in office shows what the cash allowance were paid for however said he could not remember details of the amount of CRA that was paid or given to his DFA between November to December 2013.
While he told the court that squadron Leader Abu his then cashier and himself were signatories to the accounts at NAF, he confirmed that the first defendant was not a signatory to NAF Accounts.
He also disclosed that after he left 106 camp of the NAF he proceeded to Bangladesh for his national defence programme.
In the absence of any question from the second defendant’s counsel, the judge adjourned the matter till October 27, November 2 and 3, 2016 for continuation of trial.