The former Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh has challenged the jurisdiction of the federal high court, Abuja, to entertain the criminal charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
When the case was called on Wednesday, Samuel Zibiri, counsel to Badeh, told the court that he had filed an application to challenge the jurisdiction of the court and the validity of the charges against his client.
“When the issue of jurisdiction is raised timeously, this court has the mandate to take the application before we proceed,” he told Okon Abang, the judge.
“We submit that this application challenging the jurisdiction of this court was served within 24 hours. It is the constitutional right of the first defendant to defend this case the way he deems fit in accordance with the law.
“The prosecution cannot prosecute, and tell us the way to defend our case. The procedure the first defendant has adopted is in line with the law.
“What my lord should consider is do we have the right to bring this application. The answer is yes.
“The charge itself is misleading. That forms the gamut of our application. So, my lord should give us the opportunity to address the court or move our application.”
Responding to the submission of the defence counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the EFCC, urged the court to dismiss the application and proceed with the trial.
“My lord, we were served this application by 5:30pm on Tuesday. The plan of the defence is clear. The plan is to stop this trial,” Jacobs said.
“Litigation is not a game of smartness or tricks. What the defendant is doing is crafty, cunning, and to prevent this trial. And to stop your lordship from hearing this case.
“The court should not consider the application now. I urged the court to call upon the prosecution to call his witness, and condemn the practice. I urge your lordship to refuse the application of the first defendant.”
The judge is yet to rule on the submissions of the counsel.
Badeh is facing a 10-count charge of corruption and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N3.9bn.