The prosecution witness in the trial of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, Mustapha Yerima has declared that he was pressured by the defendants to lay claims to the property allegedly acquired with diverted military funds.
Badeh alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited is standing trial before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja for allegedly diverting the sum of N1.4 billion to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013 in contravention of the Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
One of the alleged properties is a multi-billion naira plaza in Abuja.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Yerima claimed that Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau (retd) upon retiring had invited him to the Defence House to arrange the handover of documents and discuss progress of construction of the plaza which was ongoing then.
Yerima said, “In my evidence-in-chief, I testified that PW1 (Yushau) called a meeting after he had retired from the Nigerian Air Force. The meeting held at the Defence House and we discussed progress of work in the plaza. Barrister Timothy Muje and Barrister Umar were in attendance. I had met Barrister Umar once or twice before that meeting but there isn’t much familiarity between us.”
“It was after this that Barrister Muje called and asked that we both meet somewhere at Wuse II. This was the same day the EFCC invited me to their office.”
“Barrister Muje handed some documents over to me but failed to give me (Ryte Builders) the power of attorney which I asked him for.”
Yerima, while being cross-examined insisted that Yushua instructed him to claim the said property, when operatives of the EFCC began an investigation.
“The idea that was conveyed to me by PW1 after their meeting was for me to go and claim the property as instructed”, Yerima insisted.