A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has on Monday remanded former Chief of Defense Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, in prison pending the determination of his application for bail. The presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang remanded the ex-CDS at Kuje prison, after he pleaded not guilty to an 11-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him.
Mr. Alex who is currently under investigation for his involvement in the $2.1 billion arms deal scam and is also being investigated along side other serving military chiefs for diverting over N3.9 billion from accounts of the Nigerian Air Force.
The court had earlier dismissed an application for bail filed by Samuel Zibiri, counsel to Badeh, on the grounds that he was ill and needed medical attention.
The court said Badeh should remain in prison till Thursday when his bail application will be heard, even as it slated March 14 to commence full-blown hearing on the matter.
The former military chief was In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/46/2016, alleged to have used the looted funds to purchase choice properties within the highbrow areas in Abuja. The commission equally cited a firm, Iyalikam Nigerian Limited, as the 2nd defendant in the charge bordering on money laundering, corruption and criminal breach of trust. The charge dated February 26, was signed by the Deputy Director of Legal & Prosecution Department at the EFCC, Mr. Aliyu M. Yusuf.
According to the EFCC, Mr.Badeh had between January and December, 2013, used dollar equivalent of the sum of N650m, to purchase a commercial plot of land situate at plot 1386, Oda Crescent, Cadastral Zone, A07, Wuse II, Abuja.
He was also said to have paid the sum of N878, 362, 732, 94 (Eight Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million, Three Hundred and Sixty Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Two Naira, Ninety-Four Kobo) which he removed from the account of the Nigerian Air Force, into the account of Rytebuilders Technologies Limited with Zenith Bank Plc, for the construction of a shopping mall on the plot between March 28 and December 5, 2013.
He was also alleged to have diverted another dollar equivalent of N304 million to the firm, Rytebuilders Technologies Limited, for the completion of the shopping mall. Whereas EFCC, in count five of the charge, alleged that Badeh used dollar equivalent of the sum of N260m which he removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force and paid to one Ouwatoyin Oke through Platinum Universal Project and Construction to purchase a duplex for his son, Alex Badeh Jnr, it said the defendant further used N60m to renovate the property situate at No 19 Kumai Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja.
One of the charges read:
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.
Thus, the judge ordered that Badeh be kept in Kuje prison pending the hearing on his bail application which is scheduled for Thursday, March 10 and also fixed Monday, March 14 for commencement of trial on a day to day basis.