ICPC finally arraigns NBC DG on N2.5bn fraud

The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Kawu, was on Thursday brought before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission after several unsuccessful attempts to arraign him and others.

Kawu was arraigned along with the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Mr Lucky Omoluwa, and the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr Dipo Onifade, on allegation of misapplication of N2.5bn seed grant for ‘Digital Switch-over programme’ of the Federal Government.

On April 17, 2019, when the trial was to be held, it was put on hold because the co-accused, Onifade, was absent in court.

Earlier on March 12, 2019, Kawu failed to appear in court after claiming to be on admission at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State.

ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said in a statement on Thursday that Kawu and others faced 12 counts bordering on abuse of office, money laundering and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the Federal Government.

The charge against the accused read in part, “That you, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade, sometime between December 2016 and May 2017, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired with one another to use the position of Ishaq Modibbo Kawu as the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission to confer corrupt advantage on Lucky Omoluwa, your friend and associate, by recommending to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed, to approve payment of N2.5bn to Pinnacle Communications Limited, a private company owned by Lucky Omoluwa as ‘Seed Grant’ under the Digital Switch-Over Programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria when you knew that the said company was not entitled to receive such grant, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 26 (1) (C) and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act, 2000.”

The trial judge, Ogunbanjo-Giwa, in her ruling, admitted the accused persons to bail in the sum of N100m each, with two sureties in like sum.