A former Director, Legal, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Alheri Saidu, Thursday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the payment of N2.5bn by the Director General of the agency, Ishaq Moddibo Kawu, to Pinnacle Communication Limited was against the government policy guiding the Digital Switch Over programme.
Saidu who testified before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, in the on-going trial of Kawu over his involvement in the N2.5bn DSO fraud, brought against him and two others by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), said that the government White Paper on DSO was violated as the document only approved payment of seed grant to government affiliated companies.
She said: “The White Paper only said seed grant should be paid to companies owned 100 percent by government”
The retired director also told the court that the payment of the money was not raised in an emergency management meeting held to consider other payments to Pinnacle Communication.
The court further heard that the meeting discussed the payment of carriage fees to the said company because DSO subscribers were defaulting and not the seed grant.
However, Pinnacle Communication sent in a request for the payment of seed grant which was done by Kawu.
Also testifying, the Deputy Director, Finance of NBC, Olawale Abiodun said that he raised six red flags when he was directed by the DG to pay the private company the seed grant.
He added that his queries stemmed from the fact that there was no evidence of any contract executed by Pinnacle Communication for NBC to warrant the payment of such humongous amount.
Kawu’s counsel, A. U. Mustapha (SAN) objected to the tendering of the payment voucher and other documents as evidence by ICPC but was overruled by the trial judge.
The DG NBC alongside Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade are facing a 12 count charge bordering on fraud and abuse of office.