The Fraud allegations levelled by the Economic a Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against the immediate past Director-General of the National Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Emeka Mba; the Managing Director, Technology Advisor, Mr. Basil Udotai, and all persons and organisations involved in the transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting have all been denied by named involved parties.
In a letter authored by Mba’s lawyer, Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), all allegations leveled by the EFCC were denied.
He said, “The truth is that during the tenure of our client as the DG of the NBC, no money was missing, lost or stolen by anyone at the NBC. The NBC, in all its transactions, followed due processes and acquired appropriate approvals from its board of directors, the then Minister of Information, the former Minister of Communication Technology and President Goodluck Jonathan.
“We were given approval to fast track the NBC to successfully transit Nigeria to digital broadcasting. There was no sharing of any N34bn by the officials of the NBC.”
Being a named defendant in the case, Udotai, the Managing Director, Technology Advisor, in a separate letter disclosed that the dealings with the NBC were transparent. He added that he stayed on to manage the entire process of the transaction as the lead consultant by the NBC.
He stated the receipt of 10 percent as legal fees from the NBC board and paid more than N500 million in taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Udotai explained that; “The truth is that our clients, whose proposal on Digital Switch Over funding, led to the President’s approval, was later retained to manage the entire process as the lead legal consultant by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission to, among other roles, prepare all memoranda and documentations required for all the approvals, develop the project framework and manage the special auction licensing process with the NBC.
“Our client’s services were totally performance-based and were not to attract an upfront payment at all throughout the entire period of the project until or unless the funding stated in its proposal is realised.
“The law firm’s demands as legal and professional fees were the payment for 20 per cent of the funds raised, which was negotiated downward to 10 per cent by the Board of the NBC and accepted by our clients. No money was given to our clients without consideration as reported.”
Last week, the EFCC accused the immediate past DG of the NBC of diverting the sum of N10 billion from the issued N34 billion paid from the MTN Operations Account as part of proceeds from the Spectrum Bandwidth licence lease to the Telecom company by the NBC.
The EFCC also added that Mba and Zenith Bank clearly disobeyed the Federal Government’s directive that all government funds in commercial banks be transferred to a Treasury Single Account as the sum of N2,899,500,000 was transferred to the account of the Technology Advisor on 12th August, 2015.
The EFCC continued that Mba later moved a total sum of N15,038,400,000 twice to Zenith Bank Plc, an amount he, Mba, claimed was a collateral security for set-top-boxes suppliers.
The EFCC claimed to have recovered the sum of N10 billion from the shady deal.