Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday struck out a charge filed by the federal government against the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu; Managing Director of Pinnacle Communications, Dipo Onifade, founder and Chairman, Board of Directors of Pinnacle, Lucky Omoluwa and Pinnacle Communications Limited.
Presiding Judge, Justice Folasade Giwa-Ogunbanjo, struck out the charges against the defendants following an oral application by the prosecution counsel, Henry Emore.
At the resumed hearing, Emore requested that the charges filed by the federal government on January 21, 2019 against the defendants be withdrawn.
They were accused of criminal conspiracy and fraud to the tune of N2.5 billion.
He informed the court that he was substituting the charge dated January 21, with another one dated February 21, 2019, because the first charge contained noticeable errors.
Alex Izinyon (SAN), who announced appearance for Onifade, Omoluwa and Pinnacle did not oppose the application to withdraw the first charge.
Consequently, Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo struck out the charge dated January 21, and replaced it with the one dated February 21.
In the same vein, the court granted an order of substituted service against the NBC boss, Ishaq Modibbo (1st defendant).
The court ordered that the charge and summons be pasted on the last known address of Modibbo.
Also, the Judge directed the prosecution counsel to effect service of the charge on Onifade, Omoluwa and Pinnacle, within 48 hours, since Izinyon had earlier accepted to receive the charge sheet on their behalf.
Meanwhile, the court has adjourned to March 12, for arraignment of the accused persons.
One of the charges read: “That you, Is’haq Kawu Modibbo, Sir Lucky Omonuwa and Dipo Onifade sometime between December 2016 and May 2017 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired with each other to use the position of , Is’haq Kawu Modibbo as the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to confer corrupt advantage on Sir Lucky Omonuwa, your friend and associate by recommending to the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture to approve payment of N2.5 billion to Pinnacle Communications Limited, a private company owned by Sir Lucky Omonuwa as seed grant under the DSO of the Federal Government of Nigeria when you knew that the said company was not entitled to receive such grant and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26(1) (c ) and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.