Mustapha Yerima, the fourth prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, revealed at Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday how the former Air Chief used the sum of N650m from the Nigerian Air Force to allegedly purchase a landed property on which a shopping mall was built.
Yerima, the Managing Director of a construction company known as the Right Builders Limited disclosed this while giving his evidence.
He also revealed how the former Air Chief used funds from the Nigerian Airforce to fund the construction of his (Badeh’s) shopping mall in Abuja.
The witness said, “In 2013, I got information that NAF through the directorate of works and NAF properties limited was shopping for vendors who will partner with them to construct a conference center. While we were trying to find out the nature of the job, I got to understand that they were looking for technical assistant.
“I decided to contact a friend of mine who is a contractor, the owner of Bbilb construction company and we bided and won eventually.
“Soon after, the Director of finance, Air Commodore Yushau approached us and said Badeh is very pleased with our job and that he will want to give us a job. Then we scheduled a meeting.
“When we met, he told us the nature of the job, and that it deals with the construction of a shopping mall.
“He said we should look out for a suitable commercial property. During our search, Yushau called me to say he has found one and asked us to negotiate with the owner, one Fayose Ayodele.
“We later realised that the land had been sold to one Tony who is the owner of Hitex furniture.
“When we contacted him, we got to realise that he also had sold it to a third party, Kasamgo investment limited. We got back to Yushau to let him know of our findings and he asked us to go and negotiate.
“We got to Kasamgo and he gave a price of N650 million which I relayed back to Yushau and he promised to get back to Us.
“Later he called us and gave us N650 million in dollar equivalent, because Kasamgo insisted on cash payment.
“During the signing of the land documents, I asked Yushau in whose name the document should be, Yushau told me to sign the documents in my company’s name, adding that it will later be transferred to another company, after he may have discussed with Badeh.
“Yushau later called to inform me that they are ready to start the construction of the mall.
“He gave us a sketch, that we should provide him with an estimate of the cost of building the mall, which we put at N1.3bn and Yushau concluded that he will relate to Badeh and whatever they decide he will get back to us.
“He called me some few weeks later to give me some architectural drawing and complete deed of content; that was when he gave him N1.2b, which he collected and promised to see us. We also discussed how to start the funding and the first stage of payment; we calculated about N480m as mobilisation and he gave us N370m in dollar equivalent and we started construction.
“At each stage, we provided him with site project report, which he said he will be submitting to Badeh.
“During the construction, Yushau told us that our payment will come directly from the Nigerian Air Force and he introduced me to one Air Commodore Sini who was in charge of payment.
“We were paid N860M in total from the Nigerian Air Force. As soon as they were about to finish the payment made to us, we realized a couple of things not part of the contract we signed. We quickly raised an alarm and we submitted a review as some items prices had increased.
“We approached Yushau to tell him about our predicament as I understand there was pressure on him from Badeh because he was about to retire and for him to complete the job.
“We couldn’t do much and after so much argument, Yushau said he was going to schedule a meeting between us and Badeh; we couldn’t meet but after he retired, he called me saying we should meet at the Defence House where Badeh stays.
“On getting there, I met Yushau and Badeh who then asked why the project was not concluded in time. I explained everything to him. I told him from the initial bill of quantity there was an omission of the main lift and one service lift costing N97m.
“A week later, Yushau called me for a meeting again this time with Badeh’s son Alex Junior at his house. He told me that following his retirement he would not be frequent in Abuja that Alex will over see the activities of the project.”
Meanwhile, Justice Okon Abang adjourned the matter till tomorrow for continuation of the trial