A witness, Kabiru Salau, in the ongoing trial of a former Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Air Chief Marshal Alex S. Badeh, on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 told Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja that he was involved in the purchase of the Abuja house for the erstwhile army chief while receiving payments from accounts of the Nigerian Air Force, NAF.
Badeh is standing trial alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited for allegedly abusing his office as Chief of Defense Staff 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 - an offence which contravenes Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
Salau, a contractor and managing director of Platinum Universal Projects and Construction Ltd., who testified as PW5 stated this while being led in evidence by counsel to EFCC, Adebisi Adeniyi.
He narrated how he purchased, renovated and furnished a property at No 19, Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja for the duo of Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau (retd) and Alex Badeh (Jnr.), whilst receiving payments from accounts of the NAF.
"Sometime in 2012, Air Commodore Yushau called me to say that he was looking for a house for Alex Badeh Jnr. I told him that I would search for one, and called him back after three days to tell him of No 19, Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja. I told him that the house would cost N300million.
"After another two days, he called me back to negotiate the price. After discussing with Alhaji Abba, the agent, I called PW1 (Yushau) back with news that Alhaji Abba had agreed to a price of N260 million. Yushau then said that we should go to inspect the house.
"I met Yushau at his home behind Sigma Apartments at Wuse II. Air Commodore Yushau and I went to the address in the same car. While we were driving, he spoke to someone explaining that they should follow a black Honda, and that the car should accompany us. At the venue, Alex Badeh Jnr, Alhaji Abba, Air Commodore Yushau and I alighted from our vehicles. We entered the house and inspected it and then left.
"After three weeks, Yushau called me. He gave me some money in dollars, about $580,000 - half of the total price of the house. The exchange rate was N158 to a dollar at the time. I took the money to Alhaji Abba.
"After one month, Air Commodore Yushau called me. He wanted to travel to Dubai for treatment. He gave me the balance of the money which I took to Alhaji Abba. At this point, Alhaji Abba asked me of the name that would be used for the agreement, that is, the deed of assignment and all. I told him I didn't know and that I would call Yushau.
"When I called Yushau to ask him about the name, he asked me if I had a company. I responded in the affirmative. He told me to use the name of my company, Platinum Universal Projects and Construction Limited. I gave my company name and office address to Alhaji Abba.
"Alhaji Abba drafted the agreement, deed of assignment, power of attorney and the said agreement. When he finished, I signed them and then he handed over all the original certificates of the property to me. I called Air Commodore Yushau and told him that I had collected all the original documents from Alhaji Abba. He said okay, and that he would send a number to me.
"He (Yushau) sent Alex Badeh Jnr's number to me. I called Badeh (Jnr) and handed all the documents over to him. I did this because Commodore Yushau told me to give them to him.
"After two months, Air Commodore Yushau came back from his treatment in Dubai. I met him at his home and told him that the people previously occupying the house (the owner of the house) had moved out. I told him that I would like to do the renovation of the property - a two-bedroom duplex and a three-bedroom guesthouse, at the time. He told me to do the design and bring to him a quotation. After I did this, we agreed on a price of N60 million and he gave me $100,000 in cash. He gave me the balance of $200,000, after we concluded renovations a month later.
“After the renovation work, the property was a five-bedroom flat with a swimming pool, a two-bedroom guesthouse, a gate house and a generator house," Salau narrated.
The witness further described how he was engaged to furnish the same property.
"Badeh (Jnr.) called me saying that there is a company in Lagos that deals in furnishings, one Nelly... I cannot recall the second name. I called the company and they came to Abuja. They gave me a quotation of about N92million which I passed on to Badeh(Jnr.) Badeh (Jnr) said I should take it to Yushau.
"When I met with Yushau, he asked for the account to which he would send the money. I called Badeh (Jnr) who told me that I was the one in charge of the work. Consequently, I sent my account number to Yushau.
"The next day, I received an alert from NAF maintenance. I told him about this. He said that it was the money for the furnishing.
"Thereafter, I transferred the N80million to the merchant. We used the balance to buy tiles, air conditioning units, as well as, electric and toilet fittings. After we had finished all the work, I handed the house over to Badeh (Jnr).
"Two months later, Alex Jnr called me. He asked me to draw up a tenancy agreement between my company and him. I did as he requested”, Salau explained.
Narrating how Badeh (Jnr) allegedly set him up to front as the owner of the property after the EFCC got involved, Salau said, “months after, EFCC came. Bade (Jnr) called me on Friday. He told me that he is renting the house and that EFCC wanted to see me as the landlord (the owner of the house), along with the original documents of the house. On Saturday, Badeh (Jnr) gave me the original certificates of the property.
"When I got to EFCC on Monday, I was asked if the house belonged to me and I said NO."
Salau, who described Alex Badeh (Jnr) as his friend, further explained how he had helped him (Badeh Jnr) to arrange for a house to be rented.
"Alex Jnr told me of a house behind No 19, Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja which was up for rent. I told him that I would tell my friend, Mohammed Manager about it, which I did.
"Mohammed Manager and I went to inspect the house and put it up for rent. There was a need for renovations in the house. Mohammed Manager told me that he would just put an air-conditioner, generator and kitchen cabinet and rent the house out. We agreed on a rent of N12million per annum.
"Mohammed Manager rented the house out for a period of two years and paid the money into my account. We used the money for renovations and prepared the agreement between my company and the tenant. I prepared the tenancy agreement in my company's name (Platinum Universal Projects and Construction Limited) because I was the one who brought the tenants”, he further stated.
The case has been adjourned to Monday, July 4, 2016 for cross examination of the witness.
Head, Media &Publicity
June 29, 2016