The fourth prosecution witness in the trial of former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, has narrated how he was instructed to lie to authorities and pretend as the owner of Mr. Badeh’s N1.8 billion shopping mall.
The witness, Mustapha Yerima, who began testifying on Monday, said he was instructed by Mr. Badeh’s protégé, Salisu Yushau, to tell the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that the shopping mall constructed on a land said to have belonged to the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, belonged to his company, Right Builders Nigeria Limited.
“We continued our work after payments were made until one fateful morning, one of the site supervisors called me that the EFCC operatives are looking for me. Immediately I drove down to the site, they asked if the property belongs to Dasuki, I told them I have never seen or met Dasuki,” the witness said.
“I was asked to report to their office by 3pm. Before I got to their office, I called Air Commodore Yushau (former director of finance at the Nigerian Air force), to tell him what happened.
“Yushau told me that since we are into property development as a company, I should claim the property because he was scared,” Mr. Yerima stated.
He also said the property in question was at the time, under the supervision of Mr. Badeh’s son, Alex Junior. He said Mr. Yushau’s initial response was for him (Mr. Yerima) to contact Mr. Alex Junior.
“He panicked, that since he has handed over the project to the original owner, and it was Alex Badeh Junior that was coordinating, I should call him, which I did, but he told me that his father was not around and that I should call Yushau back.
“After I spoke with Badeh Junior, he said he had discussed with Yushau and he will give me directives on what to tell the EFCC operatives,” Mr. Yerima stated, adding that it was during his second call to Mr. Yushau that he Mr. Yushau instructed him to claim ownership of the said property.
Explaining how he complied with the directive, and what eventually led to his confession, Mr. Yerima said he was called during the purchase of the land by a man identified as Timothy Muje who was Mr. Badeh’s lawyer and they scheduled a meeting with Mr. Muje at Wuse 2, Abuja.
“We met and he handed over some of the property documents to me, including the original certificate of occupancy, deed and power of attorney between Ayodele Fayose and one Tony.
“He also handed over the power of attorney and deed between Tony and Kasamgo Investment, which was signed,” Mr. Yerima said.
He however added that a deliberate attempt was made by his instructors to prevent him from having the power of attorney and deed of assignment between Right Builders and Kasamgo.
“But when I got to EFCC, it was a different ball game because I was confronted with some chilling evidences. I was confronted with so many documents such as copies of drawing, bill of quantity, statement of accounts and so many other documents including email correspondences, at that point I had no option but to tell EFCC exactly the way things were,” Mr. Yerima said.
He added that the approximate cost of the shopping mall, after construction was about N1.8 billion.
Mr. Yerima had on Monday told the court that the land where the said shopping mall was constructed had belonged to the Ekity State governor, Ayodele Fayose.
He said the cost of the land was N650 million.
Since the beginning of his trial, several witnesses have testified regarding sums of money spent on purchase of land at various parts of the country for Mr. Badeh.
Credit: Premium Times