Digital switch-over scam: NBC boss shared N2.5b among cronies, witness tells court
Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu, Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and Lucky Omoluwa, Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, shared out the N2.5 billion seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over programme of the federal government amongst their cronies and family members.
This is according to a witness, Charles Adama, who testified against Modibbo-Kawu and his co-accused persons in the 12-count corruption charge brought against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Adama also told the court that politicians, churches, and a golf club also benefited from the shindig which was supervised by Omoluwa.
“The N2.5 billion was shared to individuals, friends and family members by Omoluwa who is the sole signatory to the account of the company. The money was also given to a golf club, churches, and top politicians and other charities,” Adama said according to a statement by the ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa.
Adama also added that Dipo Onifade, the Chief Operating Officer of Pinnacle Communications – who is also a defendant in the case – received the sum of N127 million as payment for legal services to his private firm, Dipo Onifade and Co.
He added that Onifade, who fixed N100 million of the said sum in a fixed deposit account, could not provide any evidence of tax payment.
The witness, led by Counsel to ICPC, Henry Emore, also told the court that Omoluwa deposited the sum of N1.5 billion in a fixed deposit account which yielded N134 million interest.
Under cross-examination by Modibbo-Kawu’s Counsel A. U. Mustapha, Adama informed the court that the illegal payment of the N2.5 billion seed grant to Omoluwa’s company was exposed in a petition against Integrated Television Services (ITS),
It is an affiliate company of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and had received N1.77 billion as seed grant according to government White Paper guiding the DSO process and properly utilized the funds.
“The N1.77 billion was used for broadcast signal distribution meant for three cities but they covered four. They covered Jos, Abuja, Ilorin, and Oshogbo,” said Adama.
On the last adjourned date, another prosecution witness, Algeria Saidu, had told the court that the approval of N2.5 billion payment to Pinnacle Communication by Modibbo-Kawu was against government’s directive which expressly stated that only government-affiliated companies should be engaged in the DSO programme.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to May 27, June 3, 4, 26, and July 4, for accelerated trial.