Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday preferred a 10-count criminal charge against the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Alex Badeh Badeh was accused of diverting funds from accounts of the Nigerian Air Force and used same to purchase choice properties in Abuja.
In count-six of the charge, the anti-graft agency alleged that the former defence boss, between January and December 2013, used N60million to renovate for his son, Alex Badeh Jnr, a duplex at No 19 Kumai Crescent, Wuse 11, Abuja.
The commission told the court that Badeh’s son is currently at large.
He was also said to have paid the sum of N878, 362, 732, 94 into the account of Rytebuilders Technologies Limited with Zenith Bank Plc, for the construction of a shopping mall located at Plot 1386, Oda Crescent, Cadastral Zone, A07, Wuse II, Abuja.
The charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/46/2016, was signed by the Deputy Director of Legal & Prosecution Department at the EFCC, Mr. Aliyu M. Yusuf. A firm, Iyalikam Nigerian Limited, was equally cited as the 2nd defendant in the charge.
Among other assets the prosecution alleged that Badeh acquired with funds he siphoned from accounts of the Nigerian Air Force, included a duplex at No. 14 Adzope Crescent, Off Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, as well as, a semi-detached duplex at No 8A Embu Street, by Sigma Apartment, Wuse II, Abuja.
Count one of the charge reads:
“That you Air Chief Marshal Alex S. Badeh (whilst being the Chief of Air Staff, Nigerian Air Force) and Iyalikan Nigeria Limited, between January and December, 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did use dollar equivalent of the sum of N1, 100, 000, 000.00 (One Billion, One Hundred Million Naira only), removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force, to purchase for yourselves a mansion situate at No. 6 Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said funds formed part of proceed of unlawful activity (to wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption) of Air Chief Marshal Alex S. Badeh, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
He may be arraigned in court today.
This is my story- Alex Badeh
Meanwhile, the former Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Alex Badeh (rtd) yesterday denied any involvement in the controversial $2.1 billion arms deal and described his ordeal in the hands of the Nigerian government as ‘persecution’.
Opening up on the alleged diversion of money for procurement of arms, Badeh said in a statement titled “I am being persecuted,” that the claim by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that he received $800,000 from the Director of Finance and Accounts was not true.
He debunked the claim that five properties were acquired for him from the $2.1 billion funds.
Badeh said: “It has been widely reported in the news that I am being investigated over the $2.1billion arms deal but that is not true. I was not part of Dasuki gate.
“The claim that 5 properties were acquired for me from the $2.1billion funds is also false.
“I was Chief of Air Staff from October 2012 to January 2014 and then appointed CDS. During my time serving as the CDS, funds for weapons were directly released to the Chief of Air staff, army staff and naval staff and not to me. I had no control over the funds and yet I am being accused of embezzling weapons funds.
“The office of the CDS had no operational control of the services and had nothing to do with their spending.
“The EFCC’s claim that I received $800,000 from my Director of Finance and accounts is untrue. I did not receive such money from the erstwhile DFA. If he claims to have given me money, where is the proof? Was it paid into my account? Did I sign for it?
“In the case of the properties, if they claim the properties are mine and were obtained illegally through proxies then they should go to the court and get an order of forfeiture rather than trying to insist I am the owner of the properties.
“It is unfortunate that the media has unwittingly allowed itself to be used by interested parties to become judge jury and executioner in my case.
“Even when they claimed Billions were found in accounts of wives of some past Air Force officers, none was found with my family yet EFCC keeps generalizing and making it look like my family is involved too.
“It is rather unfortunate that the nation which I fought so hard within my means to defend against Boko Haram insurgents cannot guarantee my fundamental human rights.”
He further said that “during my time as the CDS, lives of both soldiers and civilians were lost. Territories were lost. We fought to regain our nation’s territorial integrity and the insurgents pushed back.”
Badeh further explained that he lost his personal house and hospital he built many years ago and used in the treatment of injured soldiers in defence of his fatherland, adding, “Now I am losing my freedom to the same fatherland that I fought so hard to defend.”
He said: “During the 2014 Boko Haram attack on my village Vimtim, it was widely reported in the media that I sent a helicopter to evacuate my parents and relatives. Which parents? I am an orphan, I lost my father in the 70’s and my mother in 2013. My cousin, who lived next to me, was killed during the 2014 attack on my village. So who exactly did I evacuate? It is unfortunate that I didn’t come out to clarify some of these issues when they were reported in the media.
“I was detained by the EFCC for 3 weeks and was not charged to court but was given onerous bail conditions by the Commission which I could not meet. A remand warrant was hastily obtained on the 25th February in Lagos as soon as the EFCC was served with a notice for my bail hearing in court by my lawyers. Why detain me for so long and issue such onerous bail conditions when they aren’t ready to charge me to court?
“I reported to the EFCC when I was invited and would report anytime I am needed. All I ask for is to be given a fair hearing with the rule of law strictly adhered to. It is a media trial and I am being persecuted.”
The retired military officer is one of the high profile persons that served under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan that are being investigated by the APC-led government.