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N3.97b fraud: Badeh paid N650m cash for Abuja plot, says witness

An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) fourth Prosecution witness, Mustapha Yerima, on Tuesday, insisted that the former Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh paid N650 million cash for plot 1386, Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, where he built shopping Mall before the N3.97 billion fraud burst.

The anti-graft agency which had arraigned Badeh and his company Iyalikam Nigeria Limited on a 10-count charge of money laundering, had accused Badeh of using the fund to buy and develop landed assets in Abuja for himself and two sons between January and December 2013.

Yerima, while being cross- examined by the defense Counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), told the court that he stand by his statement to the EFCC that the former Director of Finance and Account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Commodore Abdullahi Yushau (rtd), brought the sum of N650 million cash that was made available by the defendant for the payment of plot 1386, Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, where the shopping mall is situated.

The witness also told the court that he wrote five statements to the EFCC and that he stands by the statements, dated January 6, 12, 18, February 5 and 10, 2016 as they were all honestly written.

The witness, who told the court that he is a builder, further added that, the First Prosecution Witness (PW1) brought the N650 million, the cost price of the plot of land in cash and in one instalment, which he said he paid at once to the owner of the land.

He added that: “Anytime Air Commodore Abdullahi Yushau (rtd), PW1 engages us for those assignments, in respect to the construction of the shopping mall, he kept telling us that the assignment is for his boss.”

Earlier, the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling on the objection by the prosecution counsel, Tayo Olukotu to the line of cross examination by Badeh’s counsel, held that for the defence counsel to cross examine the witness on his statements to the EFCC, he (Olujimi) ought to have tendered the statements as exhibits before the court.

According to the witness, the purpose of the defence asking a witness question is to know whether his statement to the investigation body contradicts his evidence before the court, adding that, “It is not sufficient to hold that when a witness denies a statement before it can be tendered as exhibit before the court as submitted by the counsel to the first defendant.

“The objection of the prosecution is sustained, defence shall tender the statements as exhibits before the witness can be cross examined on them”, the Judge held and adjourned the matter till today for further cross-examination of the fourth prosecution witness.

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