A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has ordered a former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, remanded at the Kuje Maximum Prison, pending the determination of his bail application on March 10.
Justice Okon Abang gave the ruling Monday after Mr. Badeh was arraigned for alleged fraud, relating to the diversion of N3.9 billion meant for the purchase of arms for the Nigerian military.
Mr. Abang struck out the bail application filed by Mr. Badeh’s counsel, Samuel Zibiri, on the grounds that it was filed ahead of his client’s (Mr. Badeh’s) arraignment.
The judge further ruled that the hearing for Mr. Badeh’s bail would commence on March 10, adding that it was important for the application to be determined before the commencement of trial.
The judge said the trial of the substantive case, billed to commence on March 14, would be on a day to day basis.
Mr. Badeh was to be arraigned before Justice Abang on Thursday, March 3, but the case was shifted to March 7 owing to the absence of the judge.
Mr. Badeh, a retired Air Chief Marshal, was arraigned on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is accusing Mr. Badeh, of using funds assigned to the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion in Abuja.
The commission said the purchase was done with the dollar equivalent of N1.4 billion.
“Mr. Badeh, while being the CDS, among other things between January and December, 2013, allegedly used dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4billion (One Billion, One Hundred Million Naira) removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion situated at No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja,” the EFCC said in a statement Thursday.
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, the anti-graft body said.
The former defence chief denied allegations of corruption against him.
On Thursday, Mr. Badeh, who has been in detention for about three weeks, accused the EFCC of “persecuting” him and conducting a media trial against him.
Mr. Badeh said he had repeatedly assured the commission of his readiness to cooperate with the investigation, yet was detained for a prolonged time without being arraigned in court.