BADEH APPEAR IN COURT AMID TIGHT SECURITY

 BADEH APPEAR IN COURT AMID TIGHT SECURITY

badeh1Former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Alex Badeh (retd.), who was ordered remanded in prison by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, came in about 11.30am – amid tight security.
He was arraigned before the judge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N3.97billion fraud.
“I can confirm to you that the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Alex Badeh, arrived Kuje prison at about 11:30am and he has been allocated a cell, pending his trial.
“All necessary documentations were made and he is fine,” Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) spokesman Francis Enobore said.
The former military chief chose to buy his meal instead of eating prison food. He will be in the cell till Thursday when his bail application will be heard.
Justice Abang made the order in a brief ruling shortly after Badeh was arraigned on a 10-count charge of criminal breach of trust and corruption.
Badeh, dressed in a brown kaftan, brown shoes and a blue cap, pleaded not guilty to all counts of the charge.
He is accused, among others, of diverting about N3.97 billion from the account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in 2013 while he served as the Chief of Air Staff.
Badeh and a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, are alleged to have diverted the funds to acquire choice property in Abuja.
The ex-CDS is accused of expending about N400 million on the purchase, renovation and equipping of a duplex situated at No. 19 Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, which he allegedly bought for his son – Alex Badeh Jnr.
Although Badeh’s lawyer Samuel Zibiri (SAN) objected to the application by prosecution lawyer Adebisi Adeniyi that the defendant be remanded in prison, the judge elected to send Badeh to prison.
He is to remain in prison until his bail application is determined.
Badeh was brought to court around 8.40am in a white bus, escorted by riot policemen.
When he emerged on the main entrance to the courtroom, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman Olisa Metuh, who was already in court, went closer to him.
They shook hands, hugged each other and smiled broadly.
Metuh, who was in court in respect of his fundamental rights enforcement proceedings, later led Badeh to where he (Metuh) sat. Both men sat close to each other, conversing until the court’s proceedings began.
Adeniyi told the court about the charge pending against Badeh and his co-defendants. He requested that the charge be read to them.
Adeniyi, relying on the provision of Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), urged the court to record “a not guilty plea” for the company, which was not represented by a director, as required in criminal proceedings.
With the defence lawyers – Zibiri and S.O. Ologunorisa (SAN), for the second defendants not objecting, the judge directed the court registrar to read the charge to Badeh, who pleaded not guilty.
Badeh maintained a straight face all through the proceedings. He occasionally gestured to his lawyer. He stood in the dock for the better part of the proceedings that lasted about 40 minutes, but was later allowed to sit on a chair inside the dock.
At the conclusion of the defendants’ plea, Adebisi applied for a date for the start of trial. He also applied that the former CDS be remanded in prison until the next date.
Zibiri later drew the court’s attention to a motion for bail, which he filed on March 3. The judge queried the competence of the motion, which was filed before the applicant (Badeh) was brought before the court.
Justice Abang noted that a court only has the jurisdiction to consider any application in respect of a defendant upon the defendant’s arraignment before the court and not before.
The judge said in line with the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of FRN vs Adewunmi, NWLR part 1034, the motion for bail filed by Badeh’s lawyer before he was arraigned was incompetent.
He directed the applicant’s lawyer to withdraw the motion and refile a directive Zibiri promptly complied with by announcing his withdrawal of the application, with a promise to refile immediately.
The judge, in a brief ruling, struck out the defective motion for bail. He refused the prayer by Badeh’s lawyer that he should be allowed to remain in EFCC custody until the determination of his bail.
He also rejected the suggestion by Ologunorisa that bail should be decided before a trial date is set. The judge was of the view that trial and bail were not the same and could proceed separately.
The judge consequently ordered Badeh’s remand in prison custody, adjourned to March 10 for hearing of the motion for bail and fixed March 14 for the opening of the trial.

LTV

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