Nigeria’s former Chief of Air Staff, Alex Badeh, has been linked to a N4.4bn fraud perpetrated in 2013 by the EFCC.
A former Director, Finance and Accounting at NAF, Air Cdre S.A. Yushau, was also fingered in the deal.
NIMASA, as part of efforts to ensure improved security in the Nigerian maritime sector had on August 26, 2013, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigeria Air Force with a view to providing effective air surveillance and monitoring of the nation’s coastal waters.
Badeh, who was the Chief of Air Staff at the time, signed on behalf of the NAF, while Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, who was the Director-General of NIMASA, signed on behalf of the maritime agency.
In furtherance of the MoU, billions of naira was said to have been transferred from the bank account of NIMASA to the Air Force.
EFCC has, however, alleged that its investigations revealed that the money was diverted to private accounts.
“We brought Badeh and Yushau to Lagos to answer to fresh allegations. The MoU that was signed by Badeh was for NAF aircraft to patrol the creeks to prevent pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering,” an EFCC official said.
“As part of the agreement, money was transferred to the Air Force in two tranches – N1.4bn and N3bn – but the money was mostly in dollars. But the money was not used for that purpose.
“Rather, the MoU was a conduit pipe to siphon money from NIMASA to Air Force account and then to companies in which they had interests or their wives were directors or signatories.
The official said this was probably why piracy in Nigeria continued to increase despite the MoU.