By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Federal High Court Abuja, yesterday, ruled that late Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Alex Badeh’s company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, be wind up and other properties forfeited to the Federal Government.
Justice Okon Abang, gave the ruling following a plea bargain agreement entered with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and the defence.
In his judgment, the judge held that, ‘’with regards to the plea bargain agreement reached by parties, the deceased Army Chief’s company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited is hereby wound up,’’
He ordered the judgment to be served on the Corporate Affairs Commission for necessary action.
The deceased was arraigned along with his company on a 14-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering to which he entered a “not guilty” plea to all counts.
Sequel to the former Army Boss demise, the prosecution agency, has in an amended 10 counts charge, made the company the defendant.
When the matter came up yesterday, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe said that the business of the day was for the second defendant to open defence since the first defendant (Badeh) was now deceased.
Atolagbe, however, drew the attention of court to agreement reached between the prosecution and the defence.
He informed the court of filed amended charge of 10 counts, as well as a plea bargain agreement.
“My Lord, there is a development. The prosecution met with the defence and we have been able to reach an agreement.
“We filed a further amended charge dated March 1, and filed March 4, and we also filed a plea bargain agreement with regards to provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA).”
At the instance of Atolagbe the new charge was read in open court and in view of the plea bargain agreement, a guilty plea be entered for the defendant, (Iyalikam Nigeria Limited) by the court.
Following the reading of the ten count amended charge and the plea of guilty entered for the defendant by the court, the lawyer prayed the court to enter judgment based on the plea bargain agreement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we ask that the court should order, as part of the sentence, the final forfeiture of all the properties affected in counts one to ten in the further amended charge as reflected in the plea bargain agreement.
“We further pray that the defendant be convicted and wound up based on the plea bargain agreement and Section 19 of the Money Laundering Act.”
In his judgment, Justice Abang said that in view of the plea bargain agreement, the defendant was guilty as charged.
“I have before me a plea bargain agreement duly executed by Iyalikam Nigeria Limited and the EFCC.
“I hereby find the defendant guilty and accordingly convict the defendant of the 10-counts further amended charge.
“Having regards to the plea bargain agreement duly executed by the parties, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited is hereby wound up and the judgment shall be served on the Corporate Affairs Commission for execution,” the judge said.
The assets to be forfeited to the Federal Government, according the ruling of the court are:
A mansion situated at No.6 Ogun River Str., off Danube Str., Maitama Abuja; a shopping mall situated at Plot 1386, Oda Crescent, Cadastral Zone, Wuse II Abuja; and a duplex located at No.19, Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II Abuja.
Others includes: A duplex at No. 14 Adzope Crescent, off Kumasi Cresent ,Wuse II, Abuja; Semi-detached duplex at No. 8A Embu Str. by Sigma Apartments Wuse II, Abuja; as well as the sum of $1 million recovered from No.6 Ogun River Str., off Danube Str., Maitama, Abuja.”
The judge further ordered that in view of the fact that the first defendant, (Badeh) was reported dead, all processes against him were hereby terminated.
It will be recall that the slain army Chief, was until his death, standing trial before the court on charges of abuse of office, money laundering and converting public money to personal use to the tune of N3.9billion.
He allegedly abused his position by diverting Nigeria Air Force, NAF, funds for personal enrichment, and acquisition of properties in choice areas in Abuja.
The former air chief was first arraigned in 2015 on a 10-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N3.9 billion.
On July 4, 2018, upon discovery of fresh evidence, Badeh was re-arraigned on an amended 14-count charge bordering on money laundering and he pleaded not guilty.