By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
Graphic details of how the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, (retd), laundered over N1.4 billion during his tenure, emerged yesterday, in Abuja.
The stunning details of how Badeh spent the huge cash of N558 million monthly from the NAF accounts were presented by a senior Air Force official, Air Commodore Mohammed Lawal Sini, who testified as the sixth witness called by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to prove its case against the former Chief of Defence Staff, CDS.
Badeh is being prosecuted alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, for allegedly abusing his office as Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, by using the Dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4 billion removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013.
The offence is in contravention of Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
Led in evidence by counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, Sini, who is currently a director in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), gave details of events that occurred when he was the Camp Finance Officer, CFO, 106 Camp, in 2012.
He said: “In 2012, I was posted to Camp NAF as the Camp Finance Officer (CFO). My schedule involved payment of salaries, disbursement of funds with respect to operations and overhead expenditure of the unit.
“106 Camp was established to provide administrative services to NAF HQ complex, the Air House (residence of the Chief of the Air Staff) and other Air Force units within Abuja.
“I reported to the Director of Finance and Accounts (DFA), then Air Commodore S. A. Yushau, (PW1), within the Headquarters. I took instructions from him with respect to financial operations within the Unit. Squadron Leader E. N. Abu was the cashier, my subordinate.
“106 Camp receives funds from NAF procurement. These funds typically were for personnel emoluments or for recurrent overhead expenditure.
“When we received it, we paid salaries. After this, some amount of money remained, which were then paid into other accounts.
‘’It was the duty of the cashier to pay these balances into the accounts for operations: Ration Cash Allowances (RCA) and Sundry Training Beats (STB). These RCA and STB had some forex components, which I instructed the cashier to generate whenever I received instructions from the DFA, Air Commodore S. A. Yushau.
“I took over the post of CFO from Group Captain Ifeobu. On the very first day I reported for duty as CFO, he told me that a certain part of the RCA taken from personnel emolument, specifically N558.2 million, was meant for the official administrative maintenance of the office of the Chief of Air Staff and that I was to report to the DFA for details of disbursement.
“Upon completion of the handover, I saw the DFA and told him what Group Capt. Ifeobu said about the administration of the RCA.
“Subsequently, administrative instruction regarding disbursement was given to me by the DFA (PW1). This instruction came to me from time to time. But specifically, he said that I should be converting the amount to forex on a monthly basis.”