Retired Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yusha’u yesterday told the Federal High Court in Abuja that earmarking N558m for the office of the Chief of Air Staff was a usual monthly practice in the Nigerian Air Force.
He also told the court that the practice has been in existence even before Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh came into office.
Under cross examination by the defence counsel Akin Olujimi SAN, Yusha’u confirmed he use to set aside the same amount to Badeh’s predecessor Air Marshall Umar.
He said similar amounts of money was readily made available at the end of the month to Air Marshal MD Umar long before Air Chief Marshal A.S Badeh was appointed Chief of Air staff.
The principal witness also confirmed that Badeh was not a signatory to the Air Force account, neither can he produce any written authorization from the defendant requesting for money to be transferred or paid to anybody.
Yusha’u also confirmed he informed Badeh of the usual practice.
“I gave the Chief the complete brief of the financial position of the Nigerian Air Force which included the usual practice,” he said.
According to the witness, as a retired director of Finance of the Nigerian Air Force, the sum of N4billion was released to the Force as statutory monthly allocation for personnel salaries and allowances between September 2012 and December 2013.
Yusha’u, however, disclosed that out of this amount, only N2.3 billion is actually used for the emoluments.
He said that of the N1.7 billion outstanding, N558 million was usually earmarked for the office of Air-staff for general administration while the rest was disbursed to the various commands and units for priority projects and training.
Justice Okon Abang ruled that the EFCC cannot continue to hold the court to ransom while the defendant’s bail application is left to surfer while waiting for the commission to carry out a duty required of it by the law.
He said if the documents submitted by the sureties to the court registrar are verified, that he has no other choice but to order the release of the defendant from prison custody.