I made statement to EFCC in error, says witness in Badeh’s case
The second prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of former Chief of Defense Staff, Chief Alex Badeh, yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that a statement he made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was made in error.
Badeh is facing to a 10-count charge the EFCC preferred against him following allegation that he diverted over N3.9 billion from salary accounts of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in 2013.
The former military chief is being prosecuted alongside a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited.
The witness, Emmanuel Abu, who is a cashier with the NAF Camp, Mogadishu Cantonment, admitted this during cross-examination by Counsel to Badeh, Akin Olujimi (SAN).
Emmanuel in his statement with the EFCC stated that he sourced the sum of $3.1m and gave it to Group Captain Mohammed L. Sinni after the sum of N76m was transferred to HAVCO Nig. Ltd from the N558m set aside monthly for the office of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS).
In his evidence-in-chief before Justice Okin Abang, the witness said the sum of $2.9m was given to Group Captain Sinni, the Camp Finance Officer (CFO) for the month of May 2013.
During cross-examination of the witness, counsel to the first defendant, Chief Olujimi, asked the witness: “In the course of your evidence you gave a list of dollars you gave to the CFO every month.
“For the month of May 2013, you said you gave $2.9m to Sinni whereas in your statement at the EFCC, you said $3.1m was sourced by you,” Olujimi asked the witness.
The witness responded: “The statement with the EFCC was in error. I confirmed that it was an error while writing the statement.”
Also, when asked if there is any record showing that he gives money monthly to Sinni, the witness said no.
“I have no records of what I gave to Sinni monthly because the CFO (Sinni) was a custodian of everything, I was only assisting him.
“All payments made either by mandate or cash was signed by the CFO and myself but I received the dollars from the Bureau de Change (BDC) because I was the one interfacing with them.”
Also, when Olujimi put it before the witness that it would be correct to say that the only record that exists to show that the witness monthly disbursed dollar equivalents of N558m to Sinni were “only in his head”, the witness said yes.
Also when the witness was asked to corroborate the claim of the Director of Finance and Accounts, Air Commodore Abdullahi Yushau rtd, who said that the usually converted N558m was given to him first in October 2012, the witness said he doesn’t know adding that the first time he gave the N558m dollar equivalent to Sinni was in Nov. 2012.
“I wouldn’t know if someone gave Yushau the dollar equivalent of the N558m in October 2012,” he said.
Emmanuel admitted before the court that he never received any instruction from the first defendant (Badeh) who said Sinni gave him a verbal instruction in 2012 shortly after Sinni assumed the position of Camp Finance Officer (CFO) to set aside the sum of N558m monthly for training and operations.
He also admitted Badeh never asked him to give him any money either in naira or dollars. He further stated that Badeh did not at any time instruct him to make any withdrawal or transfer to any person or company.
According to the witness, the first time he met Badeh was on May 9, 2016 just outside the courtroom, just as he told the court that he does not know if the usual practice of setting aside N558m for the office of CAS was there before November 2012.
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