The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on October 11presented its sixth witness, Air Commodore Mohammed Lawal Sini, in the trial of Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd) to shed more light on how the sum of N558 million Nigerian Air Force funds was converted to personal use while Mr. Badeh held sway as Chief of Air Staff.
Mr. Badeh is being prosecuted alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, for allegedly abusing his office as Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, by using the dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4billion removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013.
The offence is in contravention of Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act. Led in evidence by counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr. Sini, who is currently a director in the Nigerian Air Force, gave details of events that occurred when he was the Camp Finance Officer, CFO, 106 Camp, in 2012. “In 2012, I was posted to Camp NAF as the Camp Finance Officer (CFO). My schedule involved payment of salaries, disbursement of funds with respect to operations and overhead expenditure of the
unit. “106 Camp was established to provide administrative services to NAF HQ complex, the Air House (residence of the Chief of the Air Staff) and other Air Force units within Abuja.
“I reported to the Director of Finance and Accounts (DFA), then Air Commodore S. A.
Yushau, (Prosecution Witness 1), within the Headquarters. I took instructions from him with respect to financial operations within the Unit. Squadron Leader E. N. Abu was the cashier, my subordinate. “106 Camp receives funds from NAF procurement.
These funds typically were for personnel emolument or for recurrent overhead expenditure. “When we received it, we paid salaries. After this, some amounts of money remained, which were then paid into other accounts. It was the duty of the cashier to pay these balances into the accounts for operations: Ration Cash Allowances (RCA) and Sundry Training Beats (STB).
These RCA and STB had some forex components, which I instructed the cashier to generate whenever I received instructions from the DFA, Air Commodore S.
A. Yushau. “I took over the post of CFO from Group Captain Ifeobu.
On the very first day I reported for duty as CFO, he told me that a certain part of the RCA taken from personnel emolument, specifically N558,200,000, was meant for the official administrative maintenance of the office of the Chief of Air Staff and that I was to report to the DFA for details of disbursement.
“Upon completion of the handover, I saw the DFA and told him what Group Capt.
Ifeobu said about the administration of the RCA. “Subsequently, administrative
instruction regarding disbursement was given to me by the DFA (PW1). This instruction came to me from time to time.
But specifically, he said that I should be converting the amount to forex on a monthly basis. However, he further stated that he would be giving me instructions from time to time to make payments out of the total sum.
Whenever payments were made out of the total sum, I was to reconcile and convert the remaining balance to dollars and handover same to him. “During my tenure in the unit,
which spanned from November 2012 to December 2013, I was making those conversions and monthly reconciliations.
“My cashier, Squadron Leader Abu, was the custodian of records.
He was sourcing the dollars from Bureau de Change (BDC) operators. Depending on instructions, transfers were made to the accounts of the BDC operators. Other times, cash were withdrawn and paid for currency.
Such monies were then transferred into accounts of companies or individuals as instructed,” Mr. Sini stated.
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