Friday, May 14, 2021

Witness tells court how $1m cash was discovered in Alex Badeh’s wardrobe


Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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A witness in the N3.9 billion fraud trial involving Alex Badeh, former Chief of Air Staff, on Wednesday told Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja that $1m cash was found in the former defence chief’s wardrobe.

Anna Akuson, an operative of the EFCC, said during the search conducted on a property allegedly belonging to defendant they discovered the money,  suspected to be proceeds of illicit deals.

Mr Akuson who testified as PW20, said that the money was found in a wardrobe at the upper apartment of the building located at No. 6 Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.

Led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Akuson said: “I am a cameraman working with the EFCC. On February 24, 2016, I was assigned to go on a search with some operatives. The team leader told me the properties (we were to search) belong to Alex Badeh.

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“On reaching the place, I started my recording from outside. In the master bedroom (upstairs), we found a travelling bag covered with a pillow-case in the wardrobe. We opened the travelling bag and found US dollars inside. We brought the bag down and the money was counted.

“After the search, we returned to the office and I copied the visual from my camera to a hard drive, after which I burned it to a DVD disc”.

Thereafter, the prosecution sought to tender the certificate of identification and the DVD disc of the recording, but its admissibility was strongly objected to by Mr. Badeh’s counsel, Akin Olujimi.

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While relying on Section 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Mr Olujimi argued, “I am for the first time seeing these documents in court now that the Registrar handed them over to me.

“There is no doubt that the prosecutor did not include these two documents in the information he filed before this court. That means we have been deprived of the rights of an accused person by the law. These two documents ought to have accompanied the information which the court has”.

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Responding, Mr Jacobs argued that the documents had been made available to the defence when the EFCC’s investigating officer (who testified as PW19) gave his evidence. However, he offered to avail the defence counsel copies of the documents.

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Mr Olujimi further applied that the next date of hearing, which is March 1 be vacated to enable the defence study the documents and prepare their defence.

Consequently, Justice Abang adjourned to March 14 for continuation of trial.

Mr Badeh is facing trial alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on a 10-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N3.9billion.

He, among other things, allegedly between January and December, 2013, used dollar equivalent of N1.4 billion removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion situated at No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.

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