Former Chief of Defence Staff, Nigeria Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.)
“We brought Badeh and Yushau to Lagos to answer to fresh allegations. The MoU that was signed by Badeh was for NAF aircraft to patrol the creeks to prevent pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering.
“As part of the agreement, money was transferred to the Air Force in two tranches – N1.4bn and N3bn – but the money was mostly in dollars. But the money was not used for that purpose.
“Rather, the MoU was a conduit pipe to siphon money from NIMASA to Air Force account and then to companies in which they had interests or their wives were directors or signatories.”- EFCC source
As part of the investigation, the crimes commission has transfered 2 retired Air Force brass, former Chief of Defense Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), and Director, Finance and Accounting, Air Commodore S.A. Yushau, from it’s headquarters in the capital Abuja to Lagos.
The EFCC reports that in August, 2013, the Air Force engaged the services of the Nigerian maritime sector. NIMASA. A Memorandum of Understanding, Mou was signed engaging the services of NIMASA to provide effective air surveillance and monitoring of the nation’s coastal waters. As part of the MoU, the Air Force was supposed to carry out aerial surveillance, reconnaissance, search and rescue, tactical airlift, enforcement and provide intelligence reports to NIMASA, which would aid in the fight against piracy, illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism.
Badeh, who was the Chief of Air Staff at the time, signed on behalf of the NAF, while Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, who was the Director-General of NIMASA, signed on behalf of the maritime agency. In furtherance of the MoU, billions of naira was said to have been transferred from the bank account of NIMASA to the Air Force. EFCC has, however, alleged that its investigations revealed that the money was diverted to private accounts.
Patrick Akpobolokemi: Former Director-General NIMASA
A source said, “We brought Badeh and Yushau to Lagos to answer to fresh allegations. The MoU that was signed by Badeh was for NAF aircraft to patrol the creeks to prevent pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering
Giving further insight into how the fraud was perpetrated, the detective alleged that the NAF top chiefs set up some small oil companies under the pretext that the companies were supplying aviation fuel to military aircraft.
“The money that was transferred from NIMASA to the Air Force was for maintenance of the equipment and the fuelling of the aircraft but the money, which was mostly in dollars, went straight into the accounts of Bureau de Change operators.
Akpobolokemi is currently facing a series of cases with the EFCC, all involving the theft of monies. They include a 13 count charge on an alleged N754.7m theft. He has also been arraigned alongside nine ot hers on 30 counts of another alleged N3.4bn fraud in Federal Courts. In seperate incidents, he has been arraigned along with five others on 22 counts of an alleged N2.6bn fraud before the courts, as well. Inside sources claim he has another pending case with40 counts of alleged N34bn fraud leveled against him.
The source said Akpobolokemi and some others in NIMASA could not claim to be ignorant of the deal involving the Air Force officers. He added, “We believe that the Air Force was giving kickbacks to individuals in NIMASA people. Anytime money was transferred, they usually went back to the Air Force to collect their own share. Investigations are ongoing and we will unravel the transactions.”
Apart from Badeh and Yushau, some others, who are being investigated by the EFCC are the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.); the Chief of Accounts and Budgeting of the NAF, Air Vice Marshal J.B. Adigun; and Air Commodore O. O. Gbadebo, who was the Director of Finance and Budget at NAF and also Yushau’s successor.