(Godwin Tsa, ABUJA)
A mild drama unfolded yesterday at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja when Director of Finance and Account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Commodore Aliyu Yishau (retd.) stated that he kept no personal records to prove the cash transactions made between him and former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh
Giving evidence at the resumed trial yesterday, Yishau revealed how the former Chief of Defence Staff converted N558 million from funds meant for the NAF into dollars for his personal use.
He told the court under cross examination, how he personally converted the money into dollars and delivered it to Badeh in his then official residence at Niger Barracks, Abuja.
Yashau made the revelations during cross-examination by lead counsel to Badeh, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN).
The EFCC is prosecuting Badeh alongside a firm, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on 10-count charge of money laundering bordering on alleged fraudulent removal of about N3.97 billion from NAF’s account.
The anti-graft agency accused Badeh of using the fund to buy and develop landed assets in Abuja for himself and two of his sons between January and December 2013.
Badeh served as the Chief of Air Staff and later became the Chief of Defence Staff till he retired from the military last year.
Yishau told the court that Badeh ordered the posting of a junior officer, Group Captain Sini to him. Sini’s job, he alleged, was to personally change the money into dollars as directed. He also said Sini usually brought the dollar equivalent to him for onward transfer to Badeh.
Yishau said: “Badeh ordered the posting of Group Captain Sini to me to personally handle the changing of over N558 million into dollars. When Sini converts the money into dollars, he brings the money to me and I personally take the dollar equivalent to Badeh in his house.
“My command finance officers have all the records of all the money I gave to Badeh. While I was in custody of the EFCC, my finance officers were also invited and they gave the records of all the properties procured for Badeh.”
Yishau, however, told the court that he kept no personal records to prove all the cash transactions allegedly made between him and Badeh. But he said the command finance officer whose duty it was to keep record had all the records of the amount of the dollar equivalent he allegedly handed to Badeh at his official residence on a monthly basis and other transactions.
The retired general also told the court that he could not remember the exact amount of money he gave to Badeh during the course of their transactions.
“I cannot remember the the exact amount of dollar equivalent that I gave to Badeh in November, 2012, and other cash transactions we had because it was not my duty to keep records.
“All the records of the cash transactions are there in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Command Finance Account Office. My command finance officer wrote a statement at the EFCC and I am sure the records are there in his statement,” he said.
He also claimed that the sum of N90 miliion was spent on furnishing a property belonging to Mr. Alex Badeh Junior. He however, admitted that he did not include it in the statement he made at the EFCC.
Asked how money was disbursed to the command, he said he did not know how the budget was processed.