N2.5bn Digital Switch-Over: ICPC Probes NBC Boss, Others

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said it has quizzed the Director General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Ishaq Moddibbo Kawu over the N2.5bn grant to the agency by the federal government for its digital switch-over programme.

The spokesperson of the ICPC, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said in a statement yesterday that Kawu and other top management staff of the agency are being investigated over alleged misapplication of the fund.

The Presidency had in 2016, released N10 billion to the Ministry of Information and Culture for the digital switch-over.

Okoduwa said the programme entails migration of telephone lines from analogue to digital platforms and a White Paper was issued directing that the process be specifically handled by government-affiliated companies.

Based on the guidelines provided by the White Paper, two companies were nominated to handle the process, one of which was ITS, an affiliate of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

She said N1.7 billion was released to it as seed grant for the commencement of the switch-over.

However, Okoduwa said ICPC discovered that the process was fraught with alleged corrupt practices, alleging that Kawu fraudulently recommended a private company, Pinnacle Communications Limited, to the Minister of Information and Culture, for the release of N2.5 billion against the guidelines contained in the White Paper.

Okoduwa added that the Managing Director of Pinnacle, Dipo Onifade, during interrogation, confirmed the release of the funds to the company.

She said he could not justify that the money was used for the purpose of digital switch-over. She added that chairman of pinnacle, Mr. Lucky Omoluwa had also sought the leave of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to stop the investigation.

Okoduwa said he was ordered by the same court to appear before ICPC for interrogation before the next adjourned date of 3rd December, 2018 before his case would be heard.

“In compliance with the court order, Mr. Omoluwa has appeared before the Commission where he made useful statements to investigators,” the ICPC said.