The Independent Corrupt Practice and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has invited the immediate past minister of information, Lai Mohammed, to an Abuja high court to explain his role in a N2.5 billion fraud case involving the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
ICPC had filed a 12-count charge on abuse of office and money laundering against Ishaq Kawu, NBC director-general, Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade, chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited respectively.
In a statement on Thursday, the anti-graft agency said Mohammed was invited to explain his role after it conducted a probe.
“A government White Paper that governs the execution of the DSO programme was allegedly flouted by the head of NBC,” the statement read.
“Mohammed had however admitted in a statement to the Commission that he was misled by Kawu, as opined in court by a witness from ICPC, Osanato Olugbemi.
“Olugbemi, led in evidence by counsel to ICPC, Henry Emore, also told the court that the payment of N2.5 billion from NBC to Pinnacle Communications Limited, as seed grant was suspicious because ICPC found out through its investigations that only government-owned company was approved to benefit from the grant according to the White Paper.”
The commission revealed that the final payment to the company was shrouded in secrecy.
According to Olugbemi, 47 suspicious transactions were originated by the chairman of Pinnacle Communications after the receipt of the funds on June 2, 2017.
“The transactions includes payments of N363 million to one Idowu Olatunde, N274.4 million to one James Segun and N127 million to Dipo Onifade, the Chief Operating Officer of the company,” the statement read.
“He informed the court that Omoluwa refused to explained the reasons for the payments to Olatunde and James when asked by ICPC, but Onifade explained that he received the N127 million as legal fees he rendered to Pinnacle Communications Limited.
“A Bureau de Change operator, Salisu Mamman Daura, who also testified in court, said he received N167 million in two installments of N97 million and N70 million respectively, from Pinnacle Communications Limited.”