A Federal High Court in Abuja heard Wednesday how former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh allegedly deployed public funds to acquire N320 million house in Abuja for his 28-year old last son, Kam.
A retired Air Commodore, Aliyu Yishau, who said he served as former Director of Finance and Account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) while Badeh was the Chief of Air Staff (between September 2012 and December 2013), made this disclosure at the resumption of proceedings in the trial of Badeh and a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited.
Badeh and the firm were arraigned on March 7 this year on a 10-count charge of breach of trust and corruption for allegedly diverting about N3.97bn from NAF’s account.
Yishau, the first prosecution witness, who was cross-examined by Badeh’s lawyer, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), said the N320m house was the second of such property acquired in Wuse 2, Abuja by the former Chief of Defence Staff for his children.
He said the first located at No: 19 Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja was bought for Badeh’s first son, Alex Badeh (Jnr) at N260m, with N60m spent to renovate it, while N90m was expended in furnishing the property.
Yishau said the second house, which was bought at N320m for Badeh’s last son is located adjacent to the one bought for Badeh’s first son.
When asked how he came about the information, the witness said he paid for the houses from the N558.2m taken monthly by Badeh from NAF’s funds.
He said once he converted the N558.2m to United States dollars and takes it to Badeh in his house, the ex-Chief of Defence Staff will direct him to make payment from it.
The witness said whenever Badeh directed him to make payments, he always takes the cash from Badeh’s house to his (witness’) house, from where he hands the cash to one Engineer Husseini Salau.
“I collected the money from the 1st defendant’s (Badeh’s) resident. I take it to my house and ask them to come and collect it. I took the money to his house and he asked me to remove the equivalent of N260m to pay for the house. I deducted the N260m equivalent from the normal monthly N558.2m I take to him.
“He (the 1st defendant always authorises the deduction for payment whenever I take the monthly money to him. I did not give the house renovation job to Engr Salau. I paid N60m for the renovation of the house based on the instruction of my boss, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh,” the witness said.
He said he could not recall how many times he paid the money for the renovation. But admitted that the money was not paid at once.
The witness said he was not aware that Alex Badeh jr was just a tenant in the property at No: 19 Kumasi Crescent and that he did not see the tenancy agreement between Engr. Salau and Alex Badeh jr.
He admitted earlier telling the court, in his evidence-in-chief, that Engr. Salau and Alex Badeh jr located the house at No 19 Kumasie Crescent, Wuse 2.
He said it will not be correct to say Engr. Salau marketed the house to him.
He confirmed that he paid N90m for furniture for the house.
On how he made payment for the furniture at No:19 Kumasi Crescent, the witness said “When I received instruction from my boss, I directed my office at the Nigerian Air Force headquarters to liaise with Alex Badeh jr and effect the payment of the N90m.”
On whether it was right for him to have made the payments, Yishau said he was acting on instructions from his boss.
“In my statement to the EFCC, I said the 1st defendant has two properties in Wuse 2 that cost N260m and N320m.
The house that cost N320m is the house adjacent to No 19 Kumasi Crescent, which was purchased from Honourable Bature.
“That was the one purchased for the last son of the 1st defendant, by name Kam. I cannot remember the address, but can identify it,” the witness said.
On whether he is a certified accountant, the witness said he worked as an Accountant for the Air Force for 25 years, but that he is not a certified Accountant.
Further hearing in the case has been adjourned to May 9 at 11 am.