For the past two weeks, I’ve attended the case ICPC brought against Pinnacle Communications Ltd and the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Modibbo Kawu.
From the onset, I felt that the case was a travesty of justice, set up as part of an elaborate politically-inspired, persecution agenda, orchestrated by those who compiled the ridiculous accusations, against Nigerians working honestly and honorably to deliver Nigeria’s Digital Switchover (DSO).
Last Thursday’s court session exposed them. The ICPC Star witness, Charles Adama, confessed in open court, that no petition was written against Pinnacle Communications Limited, and that in the course of their “investigation”, no sum of money was traceable from the accounts of the company to the account of the NBC DG, Modibbo Kawu.
The court room heard that the petition ICPC received was actually against Integrated Television Services (ITS), the Signal distribution company that came out of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
The trail from ITS to Pinnacle Communications Limited, and the arraignment of the Pinnacle Chairman and Managing Director, as well as the DG NBC, was obviously an elaborate media trial, that was relentless and vicious.
In the court room we heard that the political forces behind the persecution agenda were aware that there was no case against these individuals; but a plan was hatched to damage their characters in the media, even before they appeared in court.
The character damage was only the first salvo in an onslaught. The second leg of the agenda was to get the arraignment carried out, and then push Modibbo Kawu out of the NBC.
Unfortunately for them, the authorities probably saw through their subterfuge, and refused to remove Modibbo Kawu. That became their first strategic defeat.
Thanks to the cross examination of the ICPC witness, especially by Lawyer, AV Atuwewe, that ICPC did not receive any petition against Pinnacle Communications Limited, but that the petition was against ITS.
Charles Adama confessed that it was only when they checked NBC’s Account that they discovered that Pinnacle Communications Limited was also paid a “Seed Grant”, by the Commission and decided to pursue an unsolicited investigation against them.
When Lawyer Atuwewe asked Charles Adama if they found any trail of money, from Pinnacle Communications Limited to the NBC DG, Modibbo Kawu, he answer NO; but to uphold the delusion at the basis of their wild goose chase from the beginning, he said that in 2015, another company owned by the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, called Puretec, had paid some money into the account of Word, Sound and Vision, where Modibbo Kawu worked, before his appointment as NBC DG.
Yet, the same man pretended that he didn’t know when Kawu was appointed NBC DG; or that the Pinnacle Communications Limited transmission center was commissioned by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on behalf of President Buhari in 2016.
Charles Adama said that ICPC did not visit the Pinnacle installations in Abuja and Kaduna, because that was not their interest.
The ICPC investigator, Charles Adama further revealed that they “interviewed” Lai Muhammed as part of their investigation, but the Minister refused to give a statement, until he got clearance from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
He was however reported to have informed them, that he ‘merely signed’ what was presented to him by the DG NBC. This the ICPC interpreted as the Minister having been “misled” by Modibbo Kawu.
From the inquisitional mentality of ICPC officials, the person who “recommended” an action is to be blamed, not the person that gave the “approval”. So Lai Muhammed that gave the approval has no case to answer.
Yet, we all heard Lai Muhammed’s speech at the launch of the Pinnacle Transmission Center in Abuja; saw him on television visiting the site while under construction; giving an interview to the press on progress of the work; and TV shots of him holding the tape for the Vice President to cut, while declaring open the Pinnacle Communications Transmission Center in Abuja.
It meant that there was one law for Modibbo Kawu, Mr Dipo Onifade and Sir Lucky Omoluwa; while another, for Lai Muhammed, the approving authority for the N2.5billion, that ICPC made the basis of a clearly political witch hunt.
ICPC’s Adama also confessed that so far, Minister Lai Muhammed has not denounced, at least publicly or in writing, the fact that he approved the N2.5billion.
He also accepted that the Federal Government never complained about the money paid to the company.
This ICPC issue is becoming the ultimate charade. But as the lawyers say, the case is sub judice, so we are not allowed to comment on the substance.
However, too much has been revealed already, and it’s looking like even more would soon come to the public space, for Nigerians to see some worrisome dangers.
And as for ICPC, if Charles Adama was right in court last week, that there was no petition against Pinnacle Communications Limited, why were the gentlemen in court arraigned? Nigerians deserve a very reasonable answer; not the wish-washy presentations they are presenting in court.
Ahmed wrote this piece from Kaduna.
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