The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on July 4, 2018 re-arraigned a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd) on an amended 14-count charge bordering on money laundering offence.
Badeh was first arraigned along with Iyalikam Nigeria Limited before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in 2015 on a 10-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N3.9billion. He allegedly diverted Nigeria Air Force, NAF funds for personal enrichment, and acquisition of properties in choice areas of Abuja.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told the court that new developments necessitated the need to amend the charges.
One of the new charges reads:
“That you, AIR CHIEF MARSHAL ALEX S. BADEH (RTD) and IYALIKAM NIGERIA LIMITED on or about 24th February 2016 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did retain possession of the sum of $1,000,000.00 (One Million Dollar) only which you kept at No.6 Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja which funds you reasonably ought to have formed part of the proceed of your unlawful activity to wit: theft, criminal breach of trust or corruption and you thereby committed on offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act”.
Badeh pleaded “not guilty” to the amended charges when they were read to him.
Jacobs, thereafter, presented the prosecution’s 21st witness, Fatai Abiodun, an officer working at the Computer Squadron, a section of the Pay and Accounting Unit headed by the Chief Accountant of the Nigerian Air Force.
The prosecution had subpoenaed the Chief Accountant, AVM B. A. Obuche, who however, instructed Abiodun to appear in Court for the Unit, with respect to the request of the prosecution as regards the salaries and emoluments of Badeh from 2011 till date.
The statements indicating Badeh’s salaries and emolument, were thereafter, presented to the court, through the witness. After deliberations between the defence team, Akin Olujimi, SAN, counsel for Badeh, did not raise any particular objection to its admissibility.
He said: “In respect to the documents tendered, we pray my lord to defer our objection to the document (if any) at the moment, but we reserve the right to object at a later day, as we have not yet looked at the document, but it can be admitted in the interim without prejudice to our rights.”
Counsel for the second defendant, S.T. Ologunorisa, SAN, also aligned with Olujimi, but urged that the defence be furnished with photocopies of the document.
Justice Abang, thereafter, admitted the document as exhibit in the trial.
Olujimi then urged the court to attend to an application before the court, filed June 29, 2018 seeking for permission to allow Badeh to travel to the United States on vacation.
Jacobs, did not object to the application, but raised concerns that the application “did not address the duration of time the defendant intends to stay abroad” and “no tangible reasons like health issues” specified.
“In view of this, the surety should sign an undertaking to guarantee that Badeh would return in time to face his trial,” said Jacobs.
While adjourning to October 22 - 26, 2018, Justice Abang ordered that “the surety’s passport should be deposited with the court registry and he should sign an undertaking to ensure the defendant’s return on or before September ending, 2018”..
Media and Publicity
4 July, 2018