Witness narrates how N2.5bn Digital Switch- Over fund was shared
A Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday heard that the N2.5 billion illegally released to Pinnacle Communications Limited as seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) programme by the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Moddibo Kawu, was shared to charity organisations, family members and friends by the chairman of the company, Lucky Omoluwa.
A witness, Charles Adama, who testified before Justice Folashade Ogunbajo-Giwa, in the ongoing trial of Kawu and two others over the DSO fraud brought against them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), told the court that politicians, churches and a gulf club were also beneficiaries of the jamboree by Omoluwa. Adama further informed the court that the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Dipo Onifade, who is also standing trial over allegations of fraud, received N127 million as payment for legal services to a private firm, Dipo Onifade and Co. He added that Onifade, who fixed N100 million of the said sum in fixed deposit account, could not provide any evidence of tax payment.
The witness, led by counsel to ICPC, Henry Emore, also told the court that N1.5 billion was fixed in the bank by Omoluwa for three months, which yielded N134 million interest. Adama informed the court that findings on the illegal payment of the N2.5 billion seed grant to Omoluwa’s company came about as a result of a petition against Integrated Television Services (ITS) when cross-examined by Counsel to Kawu, A. S Moyosho.
The court heard that ITS, an affiliate company of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) received N1.77 billion as seed grant according to government White Paper guiding the DSO process and properly utilised the funds.
Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa adjourned the matter to May 27, June 3, 4, 26 and July 4 for accelerated trial.