By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—THE trial of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, resumed at the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday, with the fourth prosecution witness, Mr. Mustapha Yerima, revealing how the defendant begged him to claim ownership of his multipurpose shopping mall worth over N1.8 billion.
The witness told the court that Badeh made the plea after operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, stormed the shopping complex, which is still under construction.
Yerima is the Managing Director of Rytebuilders Technologies Limited, a firm the erstwhile military boss paid N1.2 billion to construct the mall situated at Plot 1386, Oda Crescent, Cadastral Zone, A07, Close to Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja.
Led in evidence yesterday by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the witness said EFCC initially thought the shopping mall was owned by the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
According to Yerima, shortly after EFCC operatives visited the construction site and summoned him to their head office, Badeh, through different intermediaries, begged that he should not reveal that he was the actual owner of the property.
Meanwhile, the prosecuting counsel, Jacobs, told the court that he only discovered, Monday, that the witness made additional statement. He said the statement was only served on the defence yesterday.
Badeh’s lawyer confirmed service of the additional statement but sought time to study the document.
Trial justice, Okon Abang, subsequently adjourned the matter till June 14, 15, 16 for cross-examination of the witness.