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Opinion / Editorial

Badeh: Why EFCC Must Come Clean On Allegedly Seized $1million

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You cannot shave a man’s head in his absence is a common saying which aptly applies to what the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) did during the detention and investigation of the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Alex Badeh, whose house was allegedly searched in his absence recently.

The officials of the commission, while Badeh was in their custody, went ahead to search his house and claimed to have recovered some items including $1m, which Badeh has since  denied having in his house and termed a publicity stunt aimed at making bail then for the respected air Marshal difficult.

Though, the commission may have been armed with a search warrant, the interest of justice and fair play would have been served, if they had gone with the occupant of the house to the building during the execution of the search warrant.

The commission had come out to say that the house was searched in the presence of neighbours. The money allegedly recovered from his house, according to the EFCC is being kept as exhibit in their custody and will be brought to the court in the course of the trial to be tendered as exhibit. How and when that is going to happen, the members of the public, who are keenly interested in the matter are still waiting for the anti-graft agency to bring the money as exhibit as promised.

If the commission makes good its promise to teender the money as exhibit, it would be left for the two sides to prove to the court where the $1m came from.

The EFCC through its officials had said the money was recovered after detectives searched a mansion located at 6, Ogun River Street, Maitama, Abuja. And this is where the EFCC clearly shot itself in the foot.

For a start, the address mentioned by the EFCC as housing a property belonging to Badeh and wherein the said sum of $1m was discovered does not belong to the former defence chief as records have shown.

A detective at the EFCC, who did not want his name in print, said, “We have seized several properties belonging to Badeh. A few days ago, we returned to the mansion located at 6, Ogun River Street, Maitama.

“In the presence of several witnesses, including neighbours, we searched the house and recovered $1m in cash. The money has been lodged as evidence.”

But the question begging for answer at this point is whether EFCC will be able to sustain the allegation against the former military chief, who has served hiis fatherland diligently and retired as the number one military officer in the country. And this brings me to the ruse called N1m recovery and the intent of such publicity stunt.

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Just to attempt to make bail condition extremely difficult and paint Badeh in bad light, the EFCC I dare say sponsored such nasty report and caused to be published the ridiculous $1m recovered money.

As things stand as at today, the EFCC till this very moment has not ( and I say will never) deem it fit to include the missing $1m in its charge sheet for which it is prosecuting the former defence Chief. And the reason is simple. There was and there is no money gotten from Badeh’s house and hence nothing to tender.

For whatever objectives the EFCC set out to achieve through that shameful lie, truth remains that anti graft agency brought itself to disrepute and basically made nonsense of what strong institutions represent.

As the case has shifted to the courts, Nigerians are waiting to see the EFCC ammend it’s charge sheet to include the said recovered $1m from Badeh’s house and restore it’s confidence. However, if at the end of it all, the commission does not tender any money, then clearly what it imports is that Nigerians should no longer trust EFCC as the use of publicity stunt to score cheap points aimed at tarnishing the image of alleged persons it accuses of financial crimes.

The war against graft must be fought with all sanctity, especially that if the rule of law. It must be seen to reflect the zeal needed to change the status quo in terms of fighting corruption. When the EFCC begins to adopt subterranean and slimy tactics in this direction then we must all be concerned.

And so, as former CDS, Alex Badeeh pleads not guilty to an 11-count charge of money laundering filed against him by the EFCC the next few weeks or months will determine whether the EFCC will be able to substantiate the allegations against the former military officer or whether for reasons best know to it, it just embarked on publicity stunt meant to indict Badeh and pronounce him guilty even before the courts had declared the trial open.

– Kaltinga wrote in from Gombe town in Gombe State

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