Mr. Abubakar Madaki, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, told a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, how Bank Verification Number exposed how a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), was linked to a N240m worth of property in Abuja.
According to Punch Metro, Madaki said he was the head of one of the EFCC’s Task Force teams that investigated a report from the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2015 leading to 10 counts of money laundering instituted against Badeh and a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited.
The EFCC investigator, testifying as the 19th prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Badeh, said the ex-Chief of Air Staff bought the property at 19 Ogun River Crescent, Abuja, for his son, Alex Badeh (Jnr), in 2013.
The witness, led by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), on Tuesday, told the court, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, that the house was paid for in cash with the dollar equivalent of N240m.
He said N134m, spent on installing the facilities and furniture in the house, was paid directly from the account of the Nigerian Air Force.
The witness alleged that the house at 19 Ogun River Crescent, Abuja, was one of the numerous properties linked to Badeh.
The witness narrated how a tenancy agreement between Badeh’s son and a company, Platinum Universal Construction Company, was drafted to conceal Alex Badeh (Jnr)’s true ownership of the house.
Madaki said when invited by the EFCC, Alex (Jnr) initially claimed to be a tenant in the house rented from Platinum Universal Construction Company.
The witness said, however, through the use of the BVN, the EFCC was able to discover the owner and the bank accounts of the company with Zenith Bank Plc and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc.
He said the owner of the house, Kabiru Salau, also during interrogation, initially claimed Alex (Jnr) was a tenant in the house.
But he said when confronted with the statements of account of the companies, Salau began to sweat and immediately opted to speak the truth.
The witness said, “Because of the claim, I instructed some officers to follow him and conduct a search on the house.
“Based on the name given to us by him as his landlord, we tried to conduct a search through the BVN.
“We requested the account documentation. We discovered that the Nigerian Air Force had paid N92m into the company’s Zenith Bank account and N42m in two instalments – N18m and, N24m. Altogether N42m was paid into the GTB account.”
The witness added, “We now invited the owner of the company, Kabiru Salau. When he came, he came with a tenancy agreement between Alex Badeh (Jnr) and the company claiming that Alex Badeh Jnr rented the apartment from his company.
“He was then served with the company’s statements of account. Having gone through the statements of account, he started sweating.
“He explained that actually, it was not true that Alex Badeh rented the apartment.
“He said sometime in 2013, a friend of his introduced the property No 9 Kumasi Street to him that he intended to sell it.
“And coincidentally, Salisu Yishau (the first prosecution witness in the trial – PW1), who gave him the job of renovating the Nigerian Air Force Guest House contacted him that he should get a befitting apartment for the son of the Air Chief of Staff, the first defendant, was asked to go and negotiate.
“He negotiated with the owner of the property from N300m to N260m.
“He contacted Salisu Yishau and the fund was made available in dollar equivalent.
“Having paid the fund, he requested the name to be used for the document. He contacted who said he was going to speak with the first defendant.
“After sometime, PW1 got back to him, and said he should use the name of his company, Platinum Universal Construction Company, to purchase the property.
“It was after the agreement that Alex Badeh Jnr met him through PW1 to take possession of the property.”
He said after inspecting the house, Alex Jnr said he needed a company that could furnish the house.
He said shortly after discussion between Alex Jnr and Salau, the sum of N92m was transferred from the Nigerian Air Force’s account to the Platinum Universal Construction Company’s account.
He said, “He called Alex Badeh to confirm if the money was from him because it was paid through the account of the Nigerian Air Force And he answered in the affirmative.”
The witness said out of the N92m, N80m was transferred to the account of a Lagos company, which did the furnishing job and the balance of N12m was spent on the installation of air conditioners.
He said, additional sum of N80m was received from NAF’s account for installation of camera view and swimming pool.
“Not quite long, a total of N42m hit his GTB account from the NAF account making a total of N134m.
“When he was handing over the property, Alex Badeh told him to write a tenancy agreement between Platinum Universal Construction Company as the landlord and Alex Badeh Jnr as the tenant.”
The EFCC is prosecuting Badeh and his company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on 10 counts of money laundering involving their alleged fraudulent diversion of N3.9bn belonging to the NAF.
The money was said to be used to buy landed assets in choice areas of Abuja and Badeh’s home state, Adamawa State.
Madaki said Badeh’s predecessors – retired Air Chief Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar and Adesola Amosu were linked to some houses built with NAF funds diverted from the arms procurement money.
The trial continues on Wednesday.