A Federal High Court in Abuja, has heard how 752,00 dollars was paid into a special account belonging to former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
According to a release from the EFCC, a prosecution witness, Fatima Daku told the court that the money she credited into Badeh’s “Visa Gold account” was brought to the bank by his ADC and orderly.
While being led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), she told the court that Badeh’s ADC, Tom Gani, and his orderly, whose name she didn’t know, were the ones that usually bring the dollar cash to her at the bank for onward payment into Badeh’s account.
“I can’t remember the name of the orderly, but I always handed over the customer’s copy of the deposit slip to them, and kept that of the bank,” she said.
She further told the court that upon a request from the EFCC in May, indicating that Badeh was under investigation, the Internal Audit of the bank furnished the anti-graft agency with the requested documents relating to the account, including certificate of identification, vouchers, statement of account and other relevant documents. The document was subsequently admitted in evidence as G1 – G14.
Defence counsel, Akin Olujinmi (SAN), who took time to go through the various tellers in the exhibits, noted that the name of Badeh was not on the tellers, but instead, they had the name of Daku on them, with the exception of one or two, which “self” had written at the space for depositor’s name.
Taking her up on the tellers, Olujinmi alluded to the fact that “self” implied the person who was filling the teller, which in the instance was the banker. He argued that the said cash deposits could not be directly linked to Badeh.
Daku, under re-examination by Jacobs, was asked to make clarification on why she put her name on some of the tellers and “self” on others. The question was objected to by Olujinmi, who argued that “re-examination was not meant to be an opportunity for the prosecution to recoup.”
Quoting from Section 215 of the Evidence Act, Jacobs, however, insisted that the question was in order, as long as it is to enable the witness make clarifications to comments made during cross-examination.
Justice Abang, after listening to both arguments, overruled Olujinmi’s objection, ruling that a witness under re-examination, can be allowed to make clarification about statements made earlier, noting that the account name was Alex Badeh, though Daku’s name was on some of the tellers, and “self” was on others.
Daku, however, explained that “self” meant owner of the bank account, adding that: “As relationship manager, I filled in the teller of June 13, 2013 for the payment of the $50,000 in the account, and credited it with the money, but the two officers were the ones that brought the money.”
She explained further that though several of the tellers had her name, and Badeh never came personally to make the deposits, “the money did not belong to me, and they were brought to the bank by the two officers”.
Daku had on November 14, 2016 told the trial judge that she opened the account for Badeh between 2012 and 2013 was subsequently credited with about $752,000. The account, according to her, could not be operated over the counter except in case of cash deposits.
The former defence chief is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, along with his company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited.
He is standing trial on charges of abusing his office by withdrawing 1.4 billion naira from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013.
Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, has adjourned to November 22, 2016 for continuation of hearing.