I Cannot Remember How Much I Gave Badeh—Witness
There was a new twist in the on-going trial of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal A.S Badeh as EFCC’s main witnessed today, told the court that he can no longer remember the exact amount of money he gave the former CDS monthly.
The former Director of Finance and accounts of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushua (rtd), today told Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court that he also does not have records of the money he personally handed over to the former CDS.
Yushua had previously told the court during testimony that he personally handed over the amount of 558 million naira not just to A.S Badeh but to his predecessor Air Marshal MD Umar.
However under cross-examination by Counsel to the defendant, Akin Olujimi, Air Commodore Yushua said he can no longer remember the exact amount in US dollars he personally handed over to Badeh from October 2013 to December 2013. He also said he can no longer remember the amount for any specific month within the same period.
Yushua also confirmed that he personally gave the money to A.S Badeh. But does not have any record showing that A.S Badeh received money from him
Counsel to the defendant Akin Olujimi referred him to statements he made with EFCC on 28th January, 3rd, 4th, 11th Febuary and 10th March.
Also reffered to question earlier asked by the prosecutor on an ogun Rivers property in which 90 million naira was paid through him. Yushua confirmed not mentioning the 90 million payment in his 5 statements to EFCC but was mentioned for the first time by him in the court room.
He claimed his statements to the EFCC were response to questions asked by them.
He confirmed to the court that those were his statements freely expressed.
Akin Olujimi referred to page 86 of the proof of evidence where in his statement to the EFCC on the 4th February . In the last 6 lines he wrote that "the dollar so changed was used for payment of estacode and other sundry payments like servicing of jets etc. He also said that 'these funds were from left over of salaries i.e after payment of Salaries" in his statement to EFCC he said "quite a number of welfare and operational projects have been executed through this" "such projects include completion of NAF aeronautical Center, Construction of officer and air men accommodation, equipping of NAF hospitals in Abuja, Lagos, Jos, Makurdi and Kano" he confirmed that all these were done through the same left over salaries which he claimed he gave to AS Badeh.
When asked how the annual budget of the Nigerian Air force is prepared , the former DFA said that the budget office was not under the DFA. He said that was the responsibility of the Chief of Policy and Plans. Yushua also told the court that it was that it was the deputy director of budgets and not the DFA that was in charge of preparing the NAF budget. According to him “I only made inputs just like other direcotorates”
He said at the end of every month, they retires all monies to the accountant general and auditor general of the Federation and that the tax was usually carried out by the pay and accpunting Unit, Ikeja
When asked by the Counsel to the defendant if the records consist of amounts received and payments made, he replied that each comman unit made its own retirement of funds released to them.
According to him, funds were not released the DFA but to the NAF headquarters. He also said that when allocations are made to all NAF formations, the money is disbursed to all and his deputy was in charge of their own allocation. He informed the court that if there is any need for funds, the deputy writes and approval is given by him, then they proceed to the Head quarters to collect from their own votes.
Yushua however confirmed he was the accounting officer for the Directorate.
Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushua (rtd), had earlier told the court how he personally bought houses worth over 1 bilIon Naira for Badeh's predecessor MD Umar. He said he bought a house worth 250 million in Kano. Another in Mabushi, Abuja worth between 350 to 450 million naira. He also bought a house for him in Kaduna for 80 million and was renovated with 75 million. He also purchased another house in Maitama, Abuja for 500 million for MD Umar.
The matter was adjourned to 19th April for continuation of cross-examination
Meanwhile a group, New Nigeria Patriots, have called for the supension of the trial of the former CDS, saying the government should not be spending tax-payers money on a wild-goose chase. Speaking to Journalists after the trial the National Coordinator of the group, Samuel Ndubuisi, drew the attention of Nigerians to the cotradictory statements from the PW1 as evidence that some people are just desperate to nail the former CDS.
"The man in one breadth says hepersonally delivers to the former CDS N588 million monthly which he converts to personal use.But in his statement to the EFCC, he says the money was used for various projects he enumerated. He has evidence of money withdrwan and given to him but has no evidence of giving same to the former CDS"