The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, ordered the winding up of a company owned by the late Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited and a forfeiture of five properties located at different areas in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Also forfeited to the Federal Government was $1 million, recovered from No.6 Ogun River Street, off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja.
The court also ordered that certain properties owned by the late CDS be forfeited to the Federal Government. The properties 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; a duplex located at No.19, Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II Abuja; a duplex at No. 14 Adzope Crescent, off Kumasi Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja and semi-detached duplex at No. 8A Embu Str. by Sigma Apartments Wuse II, Abuja. Consequently, the court terminated the criminal trial against the first defendant (Badeh) on account of his demise. The judgement of the court was based on a plea bargain agreement entered by the company with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Federal Government had slammed a criminal charge on Badeh and his company. However, when Badeh died, the company became the sole defendant and was asked to open its defence. At the resumed trial yesterday, prosecution counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, informed the court that in view of an agreement reached between the prosecution and the defence, a further amended charge of 10 counts had been filed 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 on March 4 and we also filed a plea bargain agreement with regards to provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA),” the prosecution counsel submitted. Atolagbe, however, asked that the new charge be 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. After reading the 10-count amended charge, the court entered a plea of guilty for the defendant, consequently, upon which prosecution counsel prayed the court to enter judgement based on the plea bargain agreement. According to him, “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 10 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.” Delivering judgement, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang held 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-count further amended charge. “Having regards to the plea bargain agreement duly executed by the parties, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited is hereby wound up and the judgement shall be served on the Corporate Affairs Commission for execution,” the judge said.
Until his death, Badeh was standing trial on charges of alleged abuse of office, money laundering and converting public money to personal use to the tune N3.9 billion. He was arraigned along with his company on a 14-count charge bordering on fraud, to which he entered a “not guilty” plea to all counts. The diverted money was said to have been meant for arms purchase in the face of worsening destructions by Boko Haram terrorists. Badeh was killed on December 18, 2018 while returning from his farm.