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NBC ex-DG loses bid to stop trial over alleged N2.5b fraud

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
02 December 2020   |   3:30 am
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, has dismissed the appeal filed by the suspended Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Moddibbo Kawu, challenging the decision

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, has dismissed the appeal filed by the suspended Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Moddibbo Kawu, challenging the decision of the Federal High Court to dismiss the no-case submission he filed.

Kawu and the late Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Ltd, Mr. Lucky Omoluwa, as well as the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Dipo Onifade, were jointly arraigned before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for allegedly paying N2.5 billion seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) project to Pinnacle Communications Limited.

ICPC, in a 12-count, arraigned them for abuse of office, money laundering, and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the Federal Government, in contravention of Sections 26 (1) (c) and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

Kawu, through his counsel, A. U. Mustapha (SAN) filed a no-case submission in December 2019 at the close of the prosecution’s case, praying the court to discharge and acquit him of the charges brought against him by ICPC.

Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa, in her ruling in February 2020, held that ICPC had established a prima facie against Kawu, Onifade, and Pinnacle Communications Limited, and said that they had a case to answer.

Not satisfied by the ruling, the suspended NBC boss and his co-accused then approached the Court of Appeal to upturn the judgment of the Federal High Court.

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, in its ruling, dismissed the no-case submission filed by Kawu and his co-accused and held that they had an explanation to give when he elected to facilitate the payment of N2.5 billion to a private company against the provisions of Section 13 of the government white paper guiding the operation of the Digital Switch-Over programme.