Court admits exhibits on Badeh’s trial
The Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, admitted in evidence, documents showing payments to contractors who allegedly worked for former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
After listening to both parties, Justice Okon Abang ruled that though they were public documents, they did not fall under those that required payment of fees. He, therefore, admitted the documents in evidence as Exhibits B6 and B7.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Badeh alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on a 10-count charge of money laundering.
The admission followed the testimony given by the Prosecution Witness No. 6 (PW6), Mohammed Lawan Sini, the then Camp Finance Officer of the Nigerian Air Force (NFA), against Badeh.
The witness told the court that on assumption of office, he was intimated of the monthly disbursement of N558,200,000, officially earmarked for maintenance of the office of the Chief of Air Staff.
He added that since he was already made to understand that the monthly transfer was meant for official maintenance, he had no need for details on how the funds were used.
The defense counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi, asked the court to reject the document, saying there was no evidence of payment of any fees in the document tendered in evidence.
“The mere fact that a government department is making use of a true copy of document, which is certified, does not exclude the department from paying appropriate fee for the document,” Olujimi said.
He, therefore, urged the court to direct that before the document was tendered in evidence, appropriate fees were paid.Olujimi also stated that the witness testified that he was the Camp Officer between November 2012 to December 2013 and accordingly, it is only a public officer who had custody of public documents that could certify same, and not a person who had held office before and had retired or been transferred.