Former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has narrated his side of the $2.1 billion arms deal saga, now known as Dasukigate, where the Federal Government alleged that the money was diverted to other areas.
Badeh, in a statement titled: “I am Being Persecuted,” said he never had a hand in the $2.1 billion arms deal, adding that the claim by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he received $800,000 from the Director of Finance and Accounts was untrue.
He also debunked the claim that five houses were acquired for him from the fund.
Badeh said: “It has been widely reported in the news that I am being investigated over the $2.1 billion arms deal but that is not true. I was not part of Dasukigate. The claim that five properties were acquired for me from the $2.1 billion funds is also false.
“I was Chief of Air Staff from October 2012 to January 2014 and then appointed CDS. During my time as the CDS, funds for weapons were directly released to the Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Naval Staff and not to me. I had no control over the funds and yet I am being accused of embezzling weapons funds.
“The office of the CDS had no operational control of the services and had nothing to do with their spending. The EFCC’s claim that I received $800,000 from my Director of Finance and Accounts is untrue. I did not receive such money from the erstwhile DFA. If he claims to have given me money, where is the proof? Was it paid into my account? Did I sign for it?
“In the case of the properties, if they claim the properties are mine and were obtained illegally through proxies, then they should go to the court and get an order of forfeiture rather than trying to insist I am the owner of the properties.
“It is unfortunate that the media has unwittingly allowed itself to be used by interested parties to become judge, jury and executioner in my case. Even when they claimed billions of naira was found in accounts of wives of some past Air Force officers, none was found with my family yet the EFCC keeps generalising and making it look like my family is involved too,” he said.
He continued: “During the 2014 Boko Haram attack on my village Vimtim, it was widely reported in the media that I sent a helicopter to evacuate my parents and relatives. Which parents? I am an orphan; I lost my father in the 70s and my mother in 2013. My cousin, who lived next to me, was killed during the 2014 attack on my village. So, who exactly did I evacuate? It is unfortunate that I didn’t come out to clarify some of these issues when they were reported in the media.”
Meanwhile, there are indications that EFCC may arraign Badeh in court today.
The EFCC had filed a 10-count charge at the Federal High Court, Abuja against Badeh and Iyalikam Nig Ltd, a firm believed to be owned by him.
The charge, bordering on criminal breach of trust and corruption, dated February 26, 2016 and endorsed by Aliyu Yusuf, Deputy Director, Legal, EFCC specifically accused Badeh of unlawfully using funds meant for the Nigerian Air Force to purchase landed properties in choice areas in Abuja, between January and December 2013, while serving as Chief of Air Staff.