A witness to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) testifying against the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex S. Badeh (rtd), staged a drama of sorts when he tried to distort facts in the continuing trial of the former CDS.
The witness, Joseph Okpetu, was testifying as PW13 and disclosed to the court presided over by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, how he received hundreds of millions of naira from Badeh for various construction projects.
A builder and Managing Director of Habco Nigeria Limited, Kunychun Drilling Services and Dilplast Nigeria Limited, Okpetu started his testimony by narrating how he was asked to build a 3-bedroom duplex in Yola valued at N150million for Badeh, to how he renovated Badeh’s country home at Mubi, Bintin in Gwoza local government area of Adamawa State at the cost of N50million.
He also told the court how he painted one of Badeh’s homes in Zone B, Abuja amongst other renovations, purchased plants and equipment for a farm that was owned by Badeh and how a former Director of Finance and Accounts of the Nigeria Air Force during Badeh’s tenure, whom he gave his name simply as Yushau contacted him for the job.
“Yushau had called me to his official residence and showed me a drawing of a building to be constructed in Yola for his boss, Badeh. Initially, the quote was N200million but after scaling down some of the features of the house, the price came down to N150million.
“At the meeting, Yushau gave me the dollar equivalent of N50million as mobilisation. The other payments were done later in two instalments. During construction, Badeh visited the house on two occasions (with Yushau) and there were no complaints,” Okpetu said.
The drawing in respect for the Yola duplex was tendered and marked as Exhibit T88.
The drama however, ensued when the witness began to contradict the statement he had earlier volunteered to the EFCC. And on sensing a foul play, counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs promptly informed Okpetu of his contradictions, demanding to know if he (Okpetu) still stood by what he had said in his earlier statements.
Okpetu in his reply said, “I do not stand by my statement to the EFCC”.
When Jacobs put more questions to him, Okpetu then began to narrate that the counsel to the second defendant (Iyalikam), Samuel Zibiri (SAN) who was holding brief for S. T. Ologoorisha, was his close family friend.
He said, “On the first day that I was arrested by the EFCC, Zibiri, came to bail me. Like me, he is from Edo State. We are family friends.
This made the trial judge, Justice Abang to adjourn the case to Thursday, January 12, for further proceeding.
Badeh is standing trial alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.97billion.
The anti-graft agency is claiming he allegedly abused his office as CDS by purchasing properties in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013 with N1.4billion belonging to the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force.
The offence contravenes Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
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