The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the trial of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, till May 9 for further cross-examination of the prosecution witness and continuation of trial.
Having accepted by parties involved the matter, Justice Okon Abang adjourned the matter few minutes before 4:00 p.m.At the resumed hearing, the defence counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi, continued with the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau, former Director, Finance and Account, Nigerian Air Force.
When Olujimi took pointed out that one Engineer Kabiru Salau marketed the property at No.19 Kumasi Crescent to him, the witness refuted it, insisting that it was rather bought for Alex Badeh Junior.
Olujimi also told him that N300 million was the original cost of the property but he bargained with Salau to the tune of N260 million. This again, he refuted.
According to him, he was not part of the negotiation and bargaining for the property. He said he was only directed to make payment after the process was completed.
He said: “I never met the landlord in the course of the transaction. The transaction was between Alex Badeh Junior, Salau and the landlord.”
On how he earlier told the court that the house was paid for and how many instalments, he said it was paid with dollar equivalent of N260 million to Salau.
“The money was paid to him but the documents were with the bank. I collected the money at once from my boss. Salau told me that the documents for the house were with the bank. I told him to make partial payment to enable the landlord collect the documents from the bank. Thereafter, he paid the balance to the owner of the house.”
But still not satisfied with the answer given, Olujimi put it to him that he did not pay Salau in two instalments but rather, in three instalments. The witness refuted it. He, however, accepted that the payment was made from his residence at No. 8b Embu Close, Wuse 2, Abuja.
“I took the money to his house and he asked me to remove the equivalent of N260 million to pay for the house”, the witness said.“So, it is not correct to say that when you were taking the normal monthly allowance to the first defendant, you deducted the N260 million and gave to Salau to pay”, Olujimi asked.
At this point, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), objected on the ground that the questions were being repeated.The witness however stood his ground that he never contradicted himself in evidence.Again, Olujimi asked: “Did you or did you not say that when you were taking the monthly money to the first defendant you deducted the N260 million to Salau?
“I did not say it in my evidence in chief that when I was taking the normal monthly money to the first defendant I deducted the N260 million and gave it to Salau”, the witness said.
The witness also told the court that he was not aware that Alex Badeh Junior was a tenant in the said house. According him, he did not see the tenancy agreement of the house.
While denying that Salau marketed the property to him, he however accepted to have paid N90 million for furniture for that house.
“When I received instruction from above, I directed my office at Headquarters, Nigerian Air Force, to liaise with Alex Badeh Junior and effect the payment of N90 million.
On whether he considered it right to pay N60 and N90 million respectively to Salau for renovation and purchase of furniture, the witness answered ‘yes’, adding that he was acting based on instructions from his boss, Badeh.
“I still maintain that there was nothing wrong in taking instruction from my boss in making that payment”, he said.Chief Olujimi however reminded him that he did not mention such to EFCC in all his five statements to them.“What you told EFCC was that the defendant had two properties at Wuse which cost N260 and N320 million respectively”, Olujimi stated. The witness however insisted that the statements he made to the EFCC were based on specific questions asked.
At this point, Justice Abang decided to adjourn the case.The prosecution witness, Jacobs, told the court that he was ready with the next witness but frowned that the defence counsel could not confirm whether he would be through with cross-examination at the next adjourned date.