I am not guilty, Badeh tells court
Judge rules on Metuh’s application today
Former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd), has pleaded not guilty to the 10-count charge leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja will today rule on the human rights violation application filed by the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh.
Badeh, who was arraigned before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday over alleged corruption to the tune of N3.9 billion, also told the court through his counsel, Samuel Zibiri, that he was ready for trial.
The ex-CDS, who was in court on a 10-count charge, bordering on criminal breach of trust and corruption said contrary to the Money Laundering Act, he was remanded in Kuje Prison pending the ruling, Thursday, on his fresh bail application.
Counsel to Badeh, Zibiri, had prayed the court to grant his client bail to enable him to prepare for trial, but the counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, represented in court by M.S Abubakar and T. A. Adeniyi, had raised an objection on the ground that the application dated March 2 and filed on March 3, was filed before arraignment. According to the prosecution counsel, such an application was not competent and as such, could not be sustained, having been filed before the arraignment.
In his ruling, Justice Abang struck out Badeh’s bail application on the ground that it was not competent, having been filed before the arraignment.
“It seems to me that the motion for the bail is not competent having been filed before the arraignment. The motion is hereby struck out. The counsel is at liberty to file a fresh application,” Justice Abang maintained.
It was, however, settled between the counsel to EFCC and Badeh that a fresh bail application be filed immediately and be served on the EFCC while the response be made without undue delay.
Both parties having agreed, the court fixed March 10 for ruling on the fresh bail application. The trial will begin on March 14 and according to the judge, it will take place on a daily basis. “And the court shall not accept any frivolous application for adjournment on the matter,” the judged cautioned.Badeh is facing a10-count charge of criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.9 billion.
He was alleged to have used funds meant for the Nigerian Air Force to purchase choice property in Abuja.According to EFCC, Badeh illegally used N60 million to renovate his son’s house, which he purchased for N260 million in Abuja between January and December 2013.
The former defence chief was also, among others, alleged to have used N878 million meant for Nigerian Air Force to build a shopping mall in Abuja.
The ruling on Metuh’s application was earlier reserved for yesterday, but coming into the court room a few minutes before 9:00 a.m., Justice Okon Abang went straight to tell the court that due to heavy workload, the judgment was not ready. He therefore adjourned ruling till today at the instance of the court.
Metuh, through his lawyer, Emeka Etiaba, had filed a human rights violation motion against the EFCC, alleging unlawful arrest and detention.
Although he has since been granted bail, his counsel told The Guardian that what he was seeking the court to do is to make a pronouncement on whether it was true or not that his client was unlawfully and unconstitutionally arrested and detained.
“The truth is that when you talk about a case or suit, you talk about the cause of action. The cause of action is still alive and well. We are saying that he was arrested unlawfully and unconstitutionally and he was detained unlawfully and unconstitutionally.
“That is our case, and we are saying that for those reasons, the court should make a pronouncement, a finding on whether what we are saying is true or not.
“The issue of bail is part of our release, that aspect of it, you can say, is overtaken by events because he is now a free man but there are other relieves that we are seeking and they are still extant,” Etiaba told The Guardian.