Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, has terminated charges against the late Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, but convicted a company, Iyalikam Nigeria limited, connected to him for corruption and money laundering charges.
Justice Abang, in a judgment delivered Monday in the suit filed against Badeh and his company, upon conviction, ordered that all properties of the company listed in the charge be forfeited to the federal government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Late Badeh and his company were standing trial on a 14-count charge of criminal breach of trust, and money laundering, among others.
However, Justice Abang terminated the charges filed against the late Air Chief, just as he ordered the winding down of Iyalikam Nigeria Limited.
The court’s decision was however predicated on a plea bargain reached by both the defence and prosecution counsel.
The court in its judgment found Iyalikam Nigeria Limited who is standing trial with Badeh, guilty of the charges and ordered that all properties in line with the 10-count amended charge be forfeited to the federal government, through the EFCC.
At the resumed trial yesterday, prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe said that the business of the day was for the second defendant to open defence since the first defendant (Badeh) was now deceased.
Atolagbe, however, informed the court that in view of an agreement reached between the prosecution and the defence, a further amended charge of 10 counts had been filed as well as a plea bargain agreement.
“My Lord, there is a development; the prosecution met with the defence and we have been able to reach an agreement. We filed a further amended charge dated March 1 and filed March 4 and we also filed a plea bargain agreement with regards to provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA),” he said.
Consequently, he urged the court to direct that the new charge be read in the open court and in view of the plea bargain agreement, a guilty plea be entered for the defendant (Iyalikam Nigeria Limited), by the court.
Following the reading of the 10-count amended charge and the plea of guilty entered for the defendant by the court, the lawyer prayed the court to enter judgment based on the plea bargain agreement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we ask that the court should order, as part of the sentence, the final forfeiture of all the properties affected in counts one to ten in the further amended charge as reflected in the plea bargain agreement.
“We further pray that the defendant be convicted and wound up based on the plea bargain agreement and Section 19 of the Money Laundering Act,” he said.
Responding, Justice Abang said, “I have before me a plea bargain agreement duly executed by Iyalikam Nigeria Limited and the EFCC. I hereby find the defendant guilty and accordingly convict the defendant of the 10-count further amended charge.
“Having regards to the plea bargain agreement duly executed by the parties, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited is hereby wound up and the judgment shall be served on the Corporate Affairs Commission for execution,”
Justice Abang also ordered that the following assets be forfeited to the federal government: “A mansion situated at No.6 Ogun River Street, off Danube Street, Maitama Abuja; a shopping mall situated at Plot 1386, Oda Crescent, Cadastral Zone, Wuse II Abuja; a duplex located at No.19, Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II Abuja; a duplex at No. 14 Adzope Crescent, off Kumasi Cresent ,Wuse II, Abuja; a semi-detached duplex at No. 8A Embu Street by Sigma Apartments Wuse II, Abuja; the sum of $1 million recovered from No.6 Ogun River Street, off Danube
Street, Maitama, Abuja.”
The judge further ordered that in view of the fact that the first defendant (Badeh) was reported dead, all processes against him have been terminated.