From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A prosecution witness in the trial of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex S. Badeh and his company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, Joseph Okpetu, revealed how the defendant contracted him to renovate churches, build a mosque and a civic centre for the defendant.
The witness who was under cross-examination by Badeh’s counsel, Akin Olujimi (SAN), admitted that though he collected N100 million for construction of a civic centre, churches and mosque, he did not confirm the source of the money.
According to Okpetu, “With respect to evidence given about the construction of the civic centre, church and mosque which I was paid N100 million for, I did not confirm the source of the money. The person who called me had told me that the payment was for the three projects. The payment was made into my account by Mafosa Mafosa Limited,” he said.
Besides, Okpetu stated that the land for the civic centre was given and shown to his company by the chiefs of Badeh’s village adding that the land for the construction of the mosque was also given by the village and the church was built on the premises of a Catholic church within the village.
Answering questions on the ‘Mohammed Fufure project’, the witness said that he was not around most of the time to know if Mohammed Fufure visited the site, but said his workers always gave him reports on site situations and visits.
Under re-examination, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), counsel to the EFCC, while relying on Section 215 (3) of the Evidence Act, asked Okpetu to clarify the ambiguity which arose during cross-examination regarding whether or not he was forced by EFCC operatives to write in his statement, Exhibit T89, that money was paid into his account by NAF.
This was contested by Olujimi and counsel to the second defendant, S.T. Ologoorisha, SAN, who argued that there was no ambiguity.
Justice Abang however ruled that it was in the interest of justice for the witness to answer the question put to him.
Responding, Okpetu said, “When I was asked by the EFCC about the N50million paid into my account for the renovation of Badeh’s house in the village post-insurgency, I was requested to present all the account statements of my companies.
“It was my intention to write that I did not know the source of the money but they (the operatives) told me that from my account statements, it was evident that the money came from NAF”, Okpetu added.
Thereafter, the case was adjourned to January 26, 2017 for continuation of trial.