The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu has dismissed the allegation of N2.5billion fraud on the seed grant released by federal government for the execution of the Digital Switch Over project.
The DG made the position known in Abuja while reacting to the recent media report which reported that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences, ICPC quizzed the management of the agency for misapplication of the said amount.
NBC Recall that the ICPC was reported to be investigating the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC over the misuse of the N2.5billion seed grant released to the agency by the federal government for its digital switch-over programme.
Addressing the media, Moddibo Kawu said there were inaccuracies in the reported story and that the Commission never violated any law in payment of the said sum to the second Signal Distributor, Pinnacle Communications in line with the provisions of the White Paper.
According to Kawu, there was nothing fraudulent about the transaction between the commission and Pinnacles Communications.
He admitted that the ICPC questioned him and some other management staff of the NBC and left without a conclusion, but insisted that the Commission committed no offence in the transaction.
“There was a press statement that the DG and some management personnel of NBC have been quizzed by the ICPC in respect of payment of money to one of the signal distributors, Pinnacle Communications limited. “I saw a couple of inaccuracies in the press statement.
First of all, this is National Broadcasting Commission, not Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.
The transition we are doing is actually from analogue television to digital television and has nothing to do with telecommunication at all.
“Pinnacle Communications actually was licensed as a second signal distributor in 2014 before I became DG of NBC.
Not long after, there were issues around the license and they were in the court for two years. When the new administration came to power, it was an issue the administration felt strongly must be resolved.
“Initially, NBC had paid the First Signal Distributor, ITS N1.7bn. at the time the money was paid, the naira to the dollar was N200. When we paid them in 2017, the naira was N380 to the dollar. If you look at N2.5bn and N1.7 billion, the exchange rate affected it. It was not that we just threw money at them. All these things were measured.
“The White paper said NBC should provide the platform for the second distributor to come in because the first signal distributor has facilities all over Nigeria.
It says the second SD is coming with a lot of disadvantage to ensure that a level playing ground is provided for them to perform very effectively. Continuing, the NBC boss argued that, “This is the context in which the payment was made and we did not just pay signal distributors, when the N10billion was released by federal government, it came with an instruction that it should be distributed for the Digital Switch Over process and supervised by the minister of information