Saturday, December 14, 2019

Court fixes October 2 to hear Lai Mohammed over N2.5bn NBC Fraud

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The former Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has been scheduled to appear before a Federal High Court, Abuja, on October 2, 2019, to explain why he approved the release of N2.5 billion Federal Government Digital Switch-Over (DSO) seed grant to a private company, Pinnacle Communication Limited.

Mohammed’s appearance is pursuant to a motion filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, in which the Commission prayed the court to allow him to be called as a witness.
With this ruling, the former Minister is expected to tell the court why a recommendation for the approval of the seed grant from the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, who is facing charges of abuse of office and money laundering from ICPC, was approved against the government White Paper guiding the process.
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Kawu had on several occasions, told the court that he did not break any law by releasing the seed grant to a private company after getting due approval from the Minister.
At the resumed hearing, the court also gave permission for the temporal release of the international passports of the Chairman of Pinnacle Communication Limited, Lucky Omoluwa and the Chief Operating Officer, Dipo Onifade, to enable them travel abroad for an international conference.
Their counsel, Alex Iziyon (SAN), had filed a motion praying for the release of the passports to enable Omoluwa and Onifade, who are also facing charges of money laundering, to travel to the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands between July and September 2019.
The motion for the release of the passports was not opposed by counsel to ICPC, Ebenezer Shogunle, who told the court that he had complied with court directives by verifying the addresses of the sureties of the accused persons.
Justice Giwa then ruled that the passports be released to them on a temporal basis by the Deputy Court Registrar, and be returned to the court on or before the 25th of September, 2019.
She further ruled that their sureties must submit sworn affidavits to the court to present themselves for detention if any of the accused persons fail to return to the country.
The case was then adjourned to 2nd October, 2019 for continuation of trial.

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