Stakeholders urge presidency to probe ICPC over moves to scuttle digital switch-over

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Following the recent moves by some top officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to disrupt the hitherto smooth migration from analogue to digital broadcasting in Nigeria, stakeholders in the broadcasting industry have called on the Presidency to investigate the activities of the ICPC in this regard.

They submitted that the recent media attack on Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu could derail the credible project if the anti-corruption agency is not checkmated..

‘What we are saying is that if the ICPC really has a case against NBC and others, why not charge them to court instead of embarking on a media trial? It is obvious that the ICPC has no case against NBC, hence it embarked on this media blitz to distract NBC from forging ahead with its good job,’ said a stakeholder who craved anonymity.

The media was agog over a statement credited to the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, who claimed that the agency was investigating an alleged N2.5bn fraud leveled against the DG of NBC, Dr Moddibo Kawu, and other top officials of the commission.

She added that the money involved was a grant released to the agency by the Federal Government for its digital switch-over programme.

The statement further said, “The Presidency in 2016, released N10bn to the Ministry of Information and Culture for the digital switch-over programme which 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. N1.7bn was released to it as seed grant for the commencement of the switch-over.”
Okoduwa added that the agency discovered that the process was fraught with alleged corrupt practices.

The statement also alleged that Kawu fraudulently recommended a private company, Pinnacle Communications Limited, to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for the release of the money against the guidelines contained in the said white paper.

The ICPC’s statement was debunked in a statement by the spokesperson of NBC, Hajia Maimuna Jimada. She said, “The NBC is not aware of any fraud case involving the DG, and therefore not aware of any ICPC investigation on the DG.”

Jimada said the commission had been carrying out the digital switch-over scheme with utmost diligence and transparency, and would continue to do that till the project is completed across the country.