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NBC’s N2.5bn Fraud: Lai Mohammed Has A Question To Answer, ICPC Says



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Nigerian’s former minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has been asked to appear as a prosecuting witness in the alleged corruption trial case involving the  National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) management.

Naija News recalls that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had earlier called on the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the N2.5 billion NBC scandal.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) while disclosing this yesterday said the anti-graft agency is prosecuting Ishaq Kawu, NBC director-general, Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade, the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Pinnacle Communications Limited.

The commission had filed a 12-count charge against Kawu, Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade, chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited respectively.

A government White Paper that governs the execution of the DSO programme was allegedly flouted by the head of NBC,” the statement read.

Mohammed had however admitted in a statement to the Commission that he was misled by Kawu, as opined in court by a witness from ICPC, Osanato Olugbemi.

“Olugbemi, led in evidence by counsel to ICPC, Henry Emore, also told the court that the payment of N2.5 billion from NBC to Pinnacle Communications Limited, as seed grant was suspicious because ICPC found out through its investigations that only government-owned company was approved to benefit from the grant according to the White Paper.”

Citing a minute of an emergency NBC meeting, ICPC said it gathered that the final payment to the company was shrouded in secrecy.

The anti-graft agency said Olugbemi also told the court that 47 suspicious transactions were originated by the chairman of Pinnacle Communications after the receipt of the funds on June 2, 2017.

The transactions includes payments of N363 million to one Idowu Olatunde, N274.4 million to one James Segun and N127 million to Dipo Onifade, the Chief Operating Officer of the company,” the statement read.

“He informed the court that Omoluwa refused to explained the reasons for the payments to Olatunde and James when asked by ICPC, but Onifade explained that he received the N127 million as legal fees he rendered to Pinnacle Communications Limited.

“A Bureau de Change operator, Salisu Mamman Daura, who also testified in court, said he received N167 million in two instalments of N97 million and N70 million respectively, from Pinnacle Communications Limited.”

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