The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday opened its case against a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh (retd.), before a Federal High Court in Abuja accusing him of diverting the sum of N558,200,000 from the account of the Nigerian Air Force monthly throughout the period he served as the Chief of Air Staff.
The EFCC is prosecuting Badeh alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on 10 counts 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 sons between January and December 2013.
Badeh served as the Chief of Air Staff and later became the Chief of Defence Staff till he retired from the military last year.
He attended the Wednesday’s proceedings from prison and returned there after the court session ended, as he had yet to meet the N2bn bail conditions imposed on him by the court.
Testifying as the first prosecution witness on Wednesday, a former Director of Finance and Account of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Aliyu Yishau (retd.), narrated how he routinely helped Badeh to divert the sum of N558.2m by converting it to its dollar equivalent.
He said he usually handed the dollar equivalent of the money to Badeh at his official residence on monthly basis.
Yishau, who was led in evidence by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said he aided Badeh to divert the money throughout the period of September 2012 and December 2013 when Badeh served as the Chief of Air Staff.
The witness, who testified for about six hours on Wednesday, said the NAF usually received monthly allocations in its Capital Vote account with the Central Bank of Nigeria in Lagos; the Overhead Vote account with the Zenith Bank Plc and the Personnel and Emolument Vote account with the UBA.
He said the sum of N558.2m was being drawn from the Personnel and Emolument account as fund meant for “general administration of the Chief of Air Staff”.
Yishau told Justice Okon Abang on Wednesday that the he aided Badeh to acquire and develop landed assets in Abuja with the N558.2m which was being drawn from the Personnel Emolument account of the NAF on monthly basis.
He said the N558.2m was part of the excess in the N4bn which the NAF received monthly in the Personnel and Emolument account after the salaries and allowances of permanent and temporary staff must have been paid.