Digital Switchover scam: NBC boss, Moddibbo-Kawu to be docked on Wednesday
DIRECTOR General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Moddibbo-Kawu, will be docked on Wednesday, April 17, over his alleged complicity in the misapplication of the N2.5 billion seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) programme of the federal government.
This was made known in a statement issued on Tuesday by Rasheedat Okoduwa, Spokesperson for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
Kawu is facing a 12-count charge bordering on abuse of office, money laundering and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the federal government. The charges against Kawu were filed by the ICPC, with Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade, Chairman and Chief Operating Officer respectively of Pinnacle Communications Limited also mentioned as co-accused persons.
The trio would be appearing before Justice F. O. Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday to answer the charges against them.
According to the charge sheet, the actions of the accused persons committed contravened section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and are punishable under the same Act.
In 2016, the federal government released N10 billion to the Ministry of Information and Culture for the Digital Switch-Over programme, alongside a White Paper containing directives on how the process should be executed.
Among the directives contained in the white paper, only government-affiliated companies were eligible to take part in the programme.
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), and the sum of N1.7 billion was released to it as seed grant for the commencement of the switch-over, according to Okoduwa, ICPC’s spokesperson.
“It was alleged that Kawu fraudulently recommended Pinnacle Communications Limited, a private company, to the Minister of Information and Culture, for the release of N2.5 billion against the guidelines contained in the White Paper,” Okoduwa stated.
The initial date for Kawu’s arraignment in court was March 12, but on that day he was not in court and his lawyers informed the trial judge that he was ill.
As a result, Justice Giwa adjourned sitting to Wednesday, April 17, and issued a stern warning to Kawu’s counsel to ensure that the accused person appears in court on the next adjourned date “even if it is on a stretcher”.