A prosecution witness, Mustapha Yerima, who is the managing director of Ryte Builders Nigeria Limited, has further testified in court how monies were allegedly diverted from the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, account to construct a shopping mall for a former chief of air staff, Alex Badeh.
Mr. Badeh is being tried for alleged corruption.
At the resumed hearing before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on Wednesday, Mr. Yerima, who had previously narrated how he purchased the 3060sqm land on which the shopping mall was built for N650million, explained that he made the purchase in the name of his company, only later transferring the documents at the instructions of Air Commodore Yushau, the then Director of Finance and Accounts, Nigerian Air Force, who had previously testified before the court.
According to him, “They (Yushau and Badeh) did not want to get involved directly, so they asked me to purchase the land for them. Ahmed Maiwada was the lawyer who handled the purchase, acting strictly for me as his client. On May 23, 2013, Maiwada advised me to go ahead and commit valuable consideration in exchange for the original Certificate of Occupancy over the land. He also advised me to execute the Deeds on his behalf.
‘‘The Plot 1386 was originally a residential land. I only got to know, much later, that the land had previously belonged to one Fayose Ayodele when we obtained the Certificate of Occupancy. I cannot remember the name of the company that the land documents were transferred to because Air Commodore Yushau deliberately refused to give us the name.”
Explaining how he had constructed the plaza for Badeh, Yerima added: “I prepared the contract schedule and submitted a bill of N 1.2 billion to Yushau for the construction of the plaza, to which he responded that he would discuss with his boss (Badeh) and get back through to me.
“Yushau gave me N408 million, at first, and another N300 million in dollar equivalent as mobilization costs. He explained that subsequent payments would be made from the Nigerian Air Force. I also received N9 million for pre-contract expenses.
“In one of the statements I made at the EFCC on January 6, 2016, I gave a list of the payments which I received from the Nigerian Air Force, which totaled N864million.”
“During this process, I met with Yushau several times. I even met with both Yushau and his boss (Badeh) on one occasion,” the witness said.
The matter has been adjourned to Thursday, June 16, 2016 for further cross-examination and continuation of trial.
Mr. Badeh is standing trial alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited for allegedly abusing his office as Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, by using the dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4billion (One Billion, One Hundred Million Naira) removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013.
(Curled from premium times)