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Judge threatens to dismiss ICPC suit over minister’s absence

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•DSS arrests pension panel ex-chief, Abdulrasheed Maina
Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday threatened to close a case initiated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the absence of its witness.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, was to shed light on the N2.5 billion allegedly approved for the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) project.

However, he has been out of the country on an assignment to the United Kingdom in respect of the legal dispute between Nigeria and the Irish firm, P&ID, over the $9.6 billion judgment deal awarded by a British arbitration court against the Federal Government regarding a botched gas swap deal involving both parties.

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The anti-graft agency had sued the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Kawu Modibbo, Pinnacle Communications Ltd., its chairman, Sir Lucky Omoluwa, and the Chief Operating Officer, Dipo Onifade, for alleged fraud in the digital project of the Federal Government.

However, the judge granted leave to the NBC boss to attend the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) Congress holding in Egypt between October 28 and November 22, ordering the release of his international passport to facilitate the trip.

The court, therefore, adjourned the matter till October 21, December 4 and 5 for continuation of trial.

In a related development, the Department of State Services (DSS) has confirmed the arrest of former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.

In a statement yesterday, the secret police said Maina was arrested on September 30 in Abuja.


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