Embattled former Chief of Defence staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, has today, March 10th, granted a historic N2 billion bail by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court inAbuja, with two sureties in the sum of N1 billion each.
According to the judge, the sureties must reside in Abuja and Badeh is also required to deposit his international passport at the court.
Justice Okon Abang who delivered the ruling, held that the alleged offence is a bailable one, and that Badeh was presumed innocent until he otherwise proved. However, he added that conditions of the bail were influenced by the weight of the charges.
Counsel to Badeh, Samuel Zibiri, told the court that his client is a ‘perfect gentleman’, and that he had not ‘misconducted’ himself anyway. He said that the EFCC had granted Badeh administrative bail on two occasions, but that he could not meet the bail conditions.
The counsel told the court that the former defence chief had no criminal record in his 35 years of service. He also argued that offence his client was alleged to have committed was a bailable one.
He, therefore, urged the court to grant the accused person bail on self-recognition just as Justice Anwuli Chikere of the federal high court, Abuja, did for Abba Moro, former minister of interior, who is facing criminal charges for allegedly scamming job seekers.
Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs, while making his submission, asked the court to refuse the bail request, and order an accelerated hearing of the case.
He argued that the evidence against the defendant was strong, revealing that from a property owned by Badeh, the EFCC discovered $1m in cash, hence ‘he might want to jump bail in order not face this shame’.
The judge however overruled the argument and granted bail to Badeh
The former chief of defence staff faced a 10-count charge of criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.9bn. He eariler pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is alleged to have used funds of the Nigeria air force to purchase choice property in Abuja.
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