We Found $1m In Badeh’s N1.1bn House, He May Jump Bail – Efcc Tells Court
SAN FRANCISCO, March 10, (THEWILL) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that its operatives found the cash sum of $1m in the bedroom of an Abuja mansion of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd), warning that if granted bail, the former Defence Chief may run away in view of the “overwhelming” evidence against him.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the accused purchased the house in which the money was found with dollar equivalent of N1.1bn said to have been fraudulently removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force in 2013.
Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, who disclosed this on Thursday while opposing the bail application of Badeh, urged the Justice Okon Abang-led court to refuse the bail request, and order an accelerated hearing of the case instead.
He stated that although Badeh had denied ownership of the property, his belongings, including photographs were found in it during a search by the operatives of the commission.
The prosecution counsel, who noted that Badeh had the tendency to “disappear” instead of staying to stand trial, held that the defendant might influence witnesses, who are his junior in the military, adding that “a big man should not avoid incarceration because of his status”.
In an earlier submission, Badeh’s lawyer, Samuel Zibiri had told the court that his client was a “perfect gentleman”, and that he had not “misconducted” himself anyway.
He said that the EFCC had granted Badeh administrative bail on two occasions, but that he could not meet the bail conditions.
The counsel told the court that the former Defence chief had no criminal record in his 35 years of service, stressing that the offence his client was alleged to have committed is a bailable one.
He, therefore, prayed the court to grant the accused person bail on self-recognition just as Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja, did for the immediate past Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, who is facing criminal charges for allegedly swindling job seekers.
Justice Abang had on March 7 ordered that Badeh be remanded in Kuje prison shortly after the EFCC arraigned him and a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on 10 counts of money laundering involving the alleged diversion of about N3.97bn belonging to the Nigerian Air Force.
The judge had fixed Thursday for hearing of the bail application, but Prison authorities did not produce the former Chief of Defence Staff in court. The judge later ruled that his presence could be dispensed with under section 266 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, since the proceedings were for the hearing of an interlocutory application.