FORMER Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, a retired Air Chief Marshal, was on Monday ordered to be remanded in Kuje Prison by Justice Okon E. Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who rejected his bail application as it was made before his arraignment.
Badeh was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.97 billion.
The former defence chief was arraigned alongside Iyalikam Nigerian Limited.
Badeh is accused of using his position as CDS to among other offences divert the dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4 billion between January and December, 2013, from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion situated at No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.
According to one of the charges: “That you Air Chief Marshal Alex S Badeh (whilst being the Chief of Air Staff, Nigerian Air Force) and IYALIKAM NIGERIA LIMITED between 28th March and 5th December, 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did use an aggregate sum of N878,362,732.94 (Eight Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million, Three Hundred and Sixty Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-Two Naira, Ninety-Four kobo) removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force and paid into the account of Rytebuilders Technologies Limited with Zenith Bank Plc for the construction of a shopping mall situate at Plot 1386, Oda Crescent Cadastral Zone A07, Wuse II, Abuja for yourself, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said funds formed part of the proceed of unlawful activity (to wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption) of Air Chief Marshal Alex S Badeh and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”
While Badeh pleaded not guilty to the charges read to him, the court relied on Section 478 of the Criminal Justice Act to enter a “not guilty” plea for the second defendant being a corporation.
The prosecution, led by Adebisi Adeniyi, asked the court to set a date for trial and remand the accused in prison, a motion that was opposed by the defence counsel, Samuel Zibrin, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.
Zibrin told the court that he had a pending bail application filed on March 3, 2016 and asked the court to admit the accused on bail.
But Justice Abang turned down the application on the ground that it was filed before arraignment and remanded the former most senior military officer to Kuje prison.
“A court will have jurisdiction of a defendant upon arraignment and not before arraignment,” the judge ruled, warning further that he would not tolerate frivolous interlocutory applications until the case is concluded.
He thus adjourned the matter to March 10 and 14, 2016.