The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Monday, failed, Monday, to arraign former Director General of the National Broadcast Commission, Emeka Mba and three others.
When the case came up before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court, Abuja, counsel to the EFCC, Maaji Dabi, said the charges have been amended and have not been served on the defendants.
He pleaded for time to serve the defendants.
But the defendants’ counsels, led by S. Amen (counsel to first and second defendants) said it was out of mischief that the EFCC was asking for time, saying the anti-graft body was looking for opportunity to detain them.
They wondered why the EFCC was crying more than the bereaved, wondering why the EFCC was more worried than the defendants.
They pleaded with the court if more days were granted the EFCC, the court should allow the defendants to continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted them already.
They also pleaded that the court should mandate the commission not to re-arrest the their clients.
Justice Kolawole later ruled that the accused be served by November 30, while adjourning till December 13 for fresh arraignment.
He also ordered the EFCC not to re-arrest the accused.
The commission is prosecuting the former Director-General of the NBC, Director of Finance, Patrick Area and the Managing Director, Technology Advisor, Basil Udotai, and the Managing Director of In-View Technology Limited and D-Vine Partners Limited, Babatunji Amure.
Emeka is being accused of defying the Federal Government’s directive of August 7, 2015 on Treasury Single Account (TSA) by diverting N15,038,400,000, out of N34,114,500,000 received from MTN for Spectrum Band Width, to finance the contract for the Digital Set-Top -Boxes.
Out of the diverted N15,038,400,000 as collateral security to Zenith Bank Plc, the EFCC investigators discovered that only N4,977,227,400 was needed.
The commission said “only eight (8) out of the 12 companies opened letter of credit amounting to N3,739,727,400.00 while the sum of N1,237,400,000 was for the Digital Access Fees making a total of N4,977,227,400.”
The EFCC said after a reconciliation meeting with the Ministry of Information and Zenith Bank Plc, it was “agreed that N10,061,172,600 was in excess and should be recovered by the EFCC.”
Mba and others will face trial for non-compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on TSA, abuse of the Procurement Law, and award of contracts beyond the N50m spending limit of the DG of NBC.