During the proceedings in the ongoing trial of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex S. Badeh, which continued on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, with the prosecution witness, PW1, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau (rtd.), a former Director of Finance and Accounts, Nigerian Air Force, insisted that he was directed to buy a property worth N240million for his (Badeh) son, Alex Badeh Jnr.
Badeh is being prosecuted alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for offences bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of over N3.9bn.
At the sitting, defence counsel, Akinshola Olujimi, SAN, while cross-examining Yushau, asked him while he failed to specify his involvement in the purchase of a property worth N240m situated at 8A, Temple Street, Wuse 11, Abuja for Badeh Jnr. in his statement to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In his response, PWI said: ‘It is incorrect to say that I was not involved in the purchase of No.8A, Temple Street, Wuse II, Abuja. My Lord, my statement is very clear as to how the property was purchased. I said in my statement that I was involved in the purchase of the said property. I can identify my statement dated 11th February, 2015.
‘‘Yes, I mentioned in my statement that I made the payment of the Dollar equivalent of the price of the property. I am the author of the statement. All that I said in the statement is mine. If any other person was involved in the events described in the statement, I would have mentioned it.
‘‘I approached Rabiu Isiaku for the purpose of purchasing that house, which is close to my own house. Rabiu had explained to me that the house was rented out at that time and that the price was N240m. He sold it to me at that price. The receipt for the purchase of the property was not issued in my name. There was no understanding that, at the time of the subdivision of the Certificate of Occupancy, C of O, I would provide details of the names the C of O would carry.
‘‘At the time of the transaction, I negotiated with Alhaji Rabiu Isiaku and I told my boss. I gave him the name of the person purchasing the house, that AC Badeh was buying the house for his son. I have not read Rabiu’s statement, but I know I told him that Badeh was buying it for his son. The documents prepared were accordingly handed to Barr. Timothy, as directed by Badeh. I do not need to read his statement. I don’t have any receipt to the effect that the documents are in the possession of Barr. Timothy.’’
The statement, after being identified by the witness, was tendered by the defence and was admitted in evidence as Exhibit A.
When the defence further asked him why he did not talk about the other properties, including the one at Azdope Crescent, Off Kumasi Cresent, Abuja that he allegedly claimed to have bought for the defendant in his statement to the EFCC, Yushau said: ‘‘ I was not asked by the officers of the EFCC. I was the one who looked for and found that house. I did not negotiate with Hon. Bature to buy the house for him. The correct statement is that when Badeh wanted to buy another house for his son, Kame, I suggested the house adjacent to Alex Badeh Jnr. to him; and that he can use one Hussein Umar, a lawyer, to prepare the documents for the house. So, I introduced Hussein Umar to Hon. Bature. I was given the documents when they were ready.’’
PWI also told the court, during cross-examination, that he did not mention, in his statement, another property allegedly bought by Badeh in Yola because he was not asked about it by the EFCC officials.
According to him, ‘‘Nobody asked me about the Yola property at EFCC. The property was built in 2013. I paid the money for that development in three instalments. I do not know any Hafco Nigeria Limited. I made payment to Engr. Joe. He confirmed that to the EFCC.’’
However, when the defence asked PWI about the source of his properties, the prosecuting kicked.
Citing Sections 224 to 227 of the Evidence Act, the prosecution also kicked when the defence, rather than asking PWI questions regarding various properties he bought for Badeh, was hammering on his (Yushau) personal properties.
‘‘He is gagging the witness’’, the prosecution said.
However, Justice Abang, in his ruling, said: “The law is settled that questions on examination should relate to facts in issues. This is a criminal trial. While questions that the defence considers to be relevant may not be relevant based on merit of the case, if the court disallows those questions, upon appeal, the appeal court may order for retrial to have those same questions answered. As such, the questions by defence would be allowed.”
The case was adjourned to today for the re-examination and continuation of trial. [EFCC]
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate