An Estate Manager, Mr. Useni Umar, yesterday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he got N15million from the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh as an appreciation gift.
Umar, who testified as the third prosecution witness, PW-3, said the former military boss gave him the money in appreciation, after he successfully acquired two choice properties in Abuja.
The witness, who told the court that he was also a legal practitioner, said he was the one that facilitated Badeh’s purchase of 6 Ogun-River Street, Maitama and 14 Adzope Crescent, off Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja.
Whereas the property at Ogun-River Street was bought for N260m, the witness confirmed before the court that Badeh purchased the house at 14 Adzope Crescent from one Hon. Bature for the sum of N330m.
On the issue of the N15m “appreciation”, the witness said the defendant gave him the money through the former Director of Finance and Accounts at the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, Commodore Abdullahi Yushau, retd. Stressing that it was not Badeh that personally handed the money to him, the witness said Yushau told him that it “was an appreciation from the Chief”.
Yushau, who had while testifying before the court as the star witness, PW-1, revealed how N558.2m was deducted monthly from an account meant for salary of NAF officials. While being cross-examined by counsel to the defendant, Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, Umar said that payments for the house came through the erstwhile NAF finance director.
He said the money was brought to him instalmentally. “It was the PW-1 that asked me to conduct a search on the property. He was also the person that brought money to me for the purchase. He paid me the purchase money instalmentally within seven and ten days.
He paid the money three times. I collected all the title documents, we went to the defendant’s house, then I gave the documents to the PW-1 who in my presence, handed it to the defendant.
I went to the Air House which was the then official residence of the defendant with the PW-1. When we got there, we met the defendant with a man who he introduced to us as his childhood friend.
“However, I did not put all these in my statement at the EFCC. I only gave a summary statement of my own part of the story. At that time, I wouldn’t have recollected everything that happened. I am a human being and can make mistakes. In making my statement, I was concerned with my role on the two properties vis-a-vis the instructions from the defendant.
It was Yushua that gave me instruction to look for the house on behalf of his boss.” Besides, the witness told the court that Badeh directed that title deeds for the two properties be registered in the name of a company, Yalikam Nigeria Limited.”