Witness tells court how $1m was found in ex- Chief of Air Staff, Alex Badeh’s wardrobe
Anna Awe Akuson, a prosecution witness in the N3.9billion fraud trial involving Alex S. Badeh, former Chief of Air Staff, on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 told Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja how a search conducted on a property allegedly belonging to the defendant led to the recovery of $1million (One Million US Dollars) suspected to be proceeds of illicit deals.
Akuson, an operative of the EFCC, who testified as PW20, said that the money was found in a wardrobe at the upper apartment of the building located at No. 6 Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.
Led in evidence by Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, counsel to the EFCC, Akuson said: “I am a cameraman working with the EFCC. On February 24, 2016, I was assigned to go on a search with some operatives. The team leader told me the properties (we were to search) belong to Alex Badeh.
“On reaching the place, I started my recording from outside. In the master bedroom (upstairs), we found a traveling bag covered with a pillow-case in the wardrobe. We opened the traveling bag and found US dollars inside. We brought the bag down and the money was counted.
“After the search, we returned to the office and I copied the visual from my camera to a hard drive, after which I burned it to a DVD disc”.
Thereafter, the prosecution sought to tender the certificate of identification and the DVD disc of the recording, but its admissibility was strongly objected to by Badeh’s counsel, Akin Olujimi, SAN.
While relying on Section 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Olujimi argued, “I am for the first time seeing these documents in court now that the Registrar handed them over to me.
“There is no doubt that the prosecutor did not include these two documents in the information he filed before this court. That means we have been deprived of the rights of an accused person by the law. These two documents ought to have accompanied the information which the court has”.
Responding, Jacobs argued that the documents had been made available to the defence when the EFCC’s investigating officer (who testified as PW19) gave his evidence. However, he offered to avail the defence counsels with copies of the documents.
Olujimi further applied that the next date of hearing, which is March 1, 2018 be vacated to enable the defence study the documents and prepare their defence.
Consequently, Justice Abang adjourned to March 14, 2018 for continuation of trial.
Badeh is facing trial alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on a 10-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N3.9billion.
He, among other things, allegedly between January and December, 2013, used dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4billion (One Billion, Four Hundred Million Naira) removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion situated at No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.