From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
THE trial of former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh began yesterday with revelations of how he diverted N558,200,000 from the account of the Nigerian Air Force monthly throughout the period he served as the Chief of Air Staff.
A former director of finance and account of the Nigerian Airforce, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushua (rtd), made the revelations yesterday in his evidence in chief before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Badeh alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited are standing trial on 10 counts of money laundering bordering on alleged fraudulent removal of about N3.97 billion from NAF’s account.
Yushau told the court that NAF is funded through budgetary allocation under capital, over-head and personal monument sub-heads.
He told the court that the amount budgeted and approved for NAF each year varies but said he received a little above N4 billion monthly for personal emolument only.
“We usually receive a little above N4 billion monthly for personal emolument, however, our total wage bill as at that time was over N2 billion including salaries and allowances.
“After salaries and allowances are paid, we usually have balance of about N1.6 billion or N1.7 billion monthly.
“Out of the amount, the sum of N558 million is usually earmark for Chief of Air staff control while the balance is disbursed to commands and directorate unit for priority projects and training.”
Yushau said the former CDS instructed that the N558 million should be changed into dollars.
He however told the court that he had no written instruction because it was a verbal instruction.
He further told the court that every month he and the finance officer take the sum in dollars to Badeh’s residence at Niger Barrack
In most cases, the chief of air staff directs that the amount be exchange into US dollars and taken to the headquarters of Nigeria air Force Camp. When this money is exchanged it is brought to me, and I take this money to the Chiefof Air Staff at home- his official residence at Niger Barracks.
“As military officers we don’t request for any acknowledgment. In some cases, I do tell the finance officer to meet me at Air House at Niger Barracks with the money so that he can see when I hand over the money to the Chief of Air Staff.
“The instruction to convert the money to dollar was not in writing. The Chief of Air Staff gives many instructions that are not in writing. The instructions in writing are those requests forwarded to his office from the branches”.
The trial continues on March 23, 2016.