A prosecution witness on Thursday told the Federal High Court in Abuja that a former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, gave his company N100 million to build churches and a mosque in Mr. Badeh’s village in Adamawa State.
Mr. Badeh, a retired Air Chief Marshal, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja.
He is standing trial alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.97billion.
The prosecution witness, Joseph Okpetu, who continued his evidence as PW13, was led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.
“I constructed a village house for the first defendant, Alex Badeh, between 2008 and 2012. The fixings, features and painting were done in 2012. We also built a mosque opposite the house.
“After the construction of the house, a thanksgiving service was held. We (Havco Nigeria Limited) renovated the church where the thanksgiving took place. My company was also given the responsibility to provide tables and chairs for the thanksgiving,” Mr. Okpetu said.
According to him, between N5 million and N8 million was spent on renovation of the church used for the thanksgiving.
“Apart from the village house, we built a mosque, two churches and a civic centre for skills acquisition in Vintim Village. All these cost N100 million. I was paid in three installments of N40 million, N30 million and N30million.”
Mr. Okpetu further narrated how his firm received N14 million for building a house for the officer-in-charge of the Joint Armed Forces in Mubi, Adamawa State.
He also told the court that he imported materials, plants and equipment for Badeh’s Kantiye Farm in Nasarawa State.
Questioned on his connection to Mr. Badeh’s company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, Mr. Okpetu said: “I do not know Iyalikam, but I was paid from Iyalikam Nigeria Limited the sum of N30million in 2015”.
He was also asked about the structure of his company, Dilplast Nigeria Limited.
“Before 2015, the share structure of my company, Dilplast Nigeria Limited, was four million shares to me, three million shares to Alex Badeh (Jnr) and three million shares to Kamtufa Badeh. Now, I own six million shares, while Kamtufa Badeh owns three million and Victoria Okpetu and Architect Dan Williams own 500,000 shares each,” he explained.
Kamtufa, who according to Mr. Okpetu is Mr. Badeh’s son, contributed a house given to him by his father to Dilplast.
However, Mr. Okpetu’s testimony took a dramatic turn under cross-examination from defence counsel, Akin Olujimi.
The PW13 said in response to a question by Mr. Olujimi that he was not stable psychologically when he made his statement at the EFCC.
The response made Mr. Jacobs jump to his feet.
Mr. Jacob exclaimed, pointing to the defence: “I know that the witness is your own.”
At this point, the matter was adjourned to January 25 and 26, for continuation of trial.
Mr. Badeh was charged with allegedly abusing his office as Chief of Defence Staff by using the dollar equivalent of N1.4billion removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013.
The alleged offence contravenes Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.