A former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, who was remanded in prison custody, has been released having perfected his bail conditions.
The Federal Government had arraigned Badeh on a 10-count charge bordering on alleged diversion of about N3.9 billion belonging to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) while he served as Chief of Air Staff.
Badeh had pleaded not guilty and was consequently admitted to bail in the sum of N2 billion, with two sureties in the sum of N1 billion each.
The court, however, remanded Badeh in Kuje prisons pending the bail perfection. After spending about 14 days, Badeh eventually perfected his bail conditions and was consequently released last week. In a related development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released a former Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd) from its custody.
It was gathered from authoritative sources that Amosu, who was arrested sometime in January, was released some days ago, pending when the anti-graft agency will prefer charges against him. Also released from the custody of the EFCC, is a former Head of Budget of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Vice Marshal J.B Adigun, and AVM R.A. Ojuawo.
Ojuawo is still in the service. Sources told New Telegraph that the officers were released after the anti-graft agency had seized some properties from them. Amosu, Adigun and many other senior officers, were alleged to have abused their offices in the arms procurement processes.
The arms probe panel had, in its second interim report, indicted 17 retired and serving officers, and 21 companies. Subsequently, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the EFCC to commence immediate investigation of all the indicted officers and companies.
Those being investigated by the EFCC as directed by the president include, Barde, former Chiefs of Air Staff, Air Marshal MD Umar and Air Marshal AN Amosu.
Others are Maj- Gen E.R. Chioba (Rtd), AVM I.A. Balogun (Rtd), AVM A.G. Tsakr (Rtd), AVM AG Idowu (Rtd), AVM A.M. Mamu, AVM O.T. Oguntoyinbo, AVM T. Omenyi, AVM J.B. Adigun, AVM R.A. Ojuawo, AVM J.A. Kayode-Beckley and Air Cdre S.A. Yushau (Rtd).
Also on the list are Air Cdre A.O. Ogunjobi, Air Cdre G.M.D. Gwani, Air Cdre S.O. Makinde, Air Cdre A.Y. Lassa , Col N. Ashinze and Lt Col. M.S. Dasuki (Rtd) Also, 21 companies are being investigated by the EFCC.
Some of them are: Messrs Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux, Himma Aboubakar, Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Limited and Messrs Syrius Technologies.
The decision to probe the officers, according to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, followed the submission of an interim report to Buhari by the presidential panel on audit of arms procurement in the military.
Garba said the procurement processes were arbitrarily carried out and generally characterised by irregularities and fraud. The presidential aide revealed that: “Between January 2014 and February 2015, NAF awarded 10 contracts totalling $930,500,690 to SEI Nig. Ltd.
“Letters of award and End User Certificates for all the contracts issued by NAF and Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) respectively did not reflect the contract sums. Rather, these were only found in the vendor’s invoices, all dated March 19, 2015. ”
Additionally, some of the award letters contained misleading delivery dates suggesting fraudulent intent in the award process. “The SEI contracts included procurement of two used Mi-24V Helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at the cost of $136,944,000.
“However, it was confirmed that the helicopters were excessively priced and not operationally airworthy at the time of delivery. A brand new unit of such helicopters goes for about $30 million. Furthermore, the helicopters were delivered without rotor blades and upgrade accessories.”
He noted further that “the committee established that ONSA also funded the procurement of four used Alpha-Jets for the NAF at the cost of $7,180,000. However, it was confirmed that only two of the Alpha-Jet aircraft were ferried to Nigeria after cannibalisation of engines from NAF fleet.
“This is contrary to the written assertion of the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal A.N. Amosu to the former NSA that all the four procured Alpha- Jets aircraft were delivered to the NAF.
“The contract for the procurement of 36D6 Low Level Air Defence Radar for the NAF was awarded to GAT Techno Dynamics Ltd in April 2014 at the cost of $33 million and was funded by ONSA.
“The committee established that the radars were excessively priced as a complete set of such radars (comprising 6 radars including the Control Centre) goes for $6 million averagely….