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I paid N650m on behalf of Badeh-Witness

Mustapha Yerima a prosecution witness in the trial of Former Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, on Tuesday, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he was given N650m to buy a piece of property for Badeh.
Yerima, told the court Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau, a retired officer of the Nigerian Air Force, gave him the money, which he paid to the owner of the land once.
While being cross-examined by counsel to the first defendant, Akin Olujimi (SAN), Yerima told the court that he had been invited many times by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to answer questions regarding his knowledge of money allegedly spent at the instruction of Badeh.
Yerima, who had made five separate statements to the EFCC, maintained that his statements were accurate, except in instances of minor corrections and omissions.
An attempt by the defence counsel to draw parallels between the witness’ extra-judicial statements and oral testimony was sharply objected to by the prosecution counsel, Tayo Olukotun, who stated that the line of cross-examination using those statements as basis, without admitting them in evidence, was a calculated attempt to make the witness contradict himself.
He, therefore, prayed the court to compel the defence counsel to admit the witness’ extra judicial statements as exhibits.
After listening to arguments by both parties, Okon Abang, the judge, ruled that the defence must tender the extra-judicial statements in evidence.
“I agree with the prosecution counsel that the essence of the defence’s questioning him on his evidence in chief in comparison to his extra- judicial statements is to have the witness contradict himself. As such, it wouldn’t matter the answer given by the witness. Objection is hereby sustained. No party will be prejudiced if the statements are tendered in evidence,” Abang held.
The statements were, therefore, tendered in evidence by the defence and marked as Exhibits D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5 respectively.
Speaking further, Yerima said: “In all my statements relating to the procurement of the land, I am describing the same process in which I was involved.
“Any contradictions are due to the fact that I did not have all the relevant documents available to me at the different times I made my statements. I had to rely on my memories of events which happened back in 2013.
“It is my evidence that PW1, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau (retd.), gave me the sum of N650m as the cost of the land. I paid this to the owner of the land in one instalment.
“Anytime he (Yushau) is engaging us on such assignments, he keeps telling us that it is for his boss (Badeh).”
The matter was adjourned to Wednesday for further cross- examination of the witness and for continuation of trial.
Badeh is standing trial alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited for allegedly abusing his office as then chief of air staff by using the dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4bn removed from the accounts of the Nigeria air force to purchase pieces of property in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013.

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