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Reps allege discrepancies in digital switchover plan


House of Representatives

To probe Lai Mohammed’s alleged role
The House of Representatives has alleged discrepancies in Federal Government’s digital switchover plan, saying it is set to thoroughly examine it, if it must meet the desire of the government.

According to the lawmakers, a probe panel would be set up to investigate the role of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in the suspicious financial dealings in the programme.

In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma (PDP, Edo) accused the minister of engaging in controversial dealings to favour ITS.

Agbonayinma, who blamed the minister for using his position to advance funds to favour some parties in the programme, said it was a slap on the country that Mohammed was influencing the process to bring in incompetent people whose capacities cannot carry television stations in the country.

According to him: “Two companies, Pinnacle, ITS and the Information Minister will be probed to ascertain what is exactly on ground.

“This is appalling because some people are bent on derailing the corruption fight of this administration.

“The minister and the two firms should come and tell us about the equipment they installed.

“These people are trying to rubbish the fight against corruption that Buhari is championing in Nigeria.”

The House ad-hoc committee, which investigated the process of digital (Broadcast) switchover in Nigeria headed by Sunday Katung had in the committee’s report suspected foul-play and underhand dealings in some equipment supplied by one of the vendors alleged to have the sympathy of the minister.

The committee is demanding that issues surrounding the quality of equipment supplied by ITS, a licensed firm and distributor in the switch-over scheme be investigated.

The committee has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to ensure that ITS equipment are of standard and in line with global best practices, while also asking that the probe must also ascertain the actual amount paid to ITS by NBC.

The probe is further to determine the procurement infractions observed during her oversight, and the current status of funds, income and expenditure as utilised and generated by the NBC, the parent ministry and any government agency involved therein the digital switchover.

The House panel recommendations had since been approved by the House.

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