– Former information minister, Lai Mohammed, is to appear in court as prosecution witness in a N2.5 billion fraud case against Ishaq Modibbo Kawu The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) explains that Mohammed will give details of his role concerning the fund – The anti-graft agency says a witness, Osanato Olugbemi, had told the court some of the findings when the ICPC carried out its investigation Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s former information minister, is to stand as a prosecution witness in an alleged N2.5 billion fraud trial case involving the director general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, and two others.
The Nation reports that this was made known by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) which listed the other defendants as: Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade. A statement by the spokesperson of ICPC, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said Mohammed had been scheduled to appear before a Federal High Court, Abuja, to explain his role in the alleged misapplication of N2.5 billion federal government Digital Switch-Over (DSO) programme. “The ex-minister will appear as a prosecution witness, we are not arraigning him for trial. READ ALSO: NAIJ.com upgrades to Legit.ng: a letter from our Editor-in-Chief Bayo Olupohunda “The former minister’s involvement had come under questioning following discovery by ICPC during investigations, that a government white paper that governs the execution of the DSO programme was allegedly flouted by the head of NBC. “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,” she said in the statement. The ICPC statement further said Olugbemi, led in evidence by counsel to ICPC, Henry Emore, told the court that the payment of N2.5 billion from NBC to a company as seed grant was suspicious because the anti-graft organisation found out, through its investigations, that only government owned company was approved to benefit from the grant according to the white paper.
It was learnt that the court also heard that the processes that led to the final payment of the fund to the private company were shrouded in secrecy and that this is evident in the minute from an NBC emergency board management meeting where issues of carriage fees owed the company and not seed grant was discussed. The witness told the court that 47 suspicious transactions were originated by the chairman of the company immediately after the receipt of the funds on June 2, 2017. “The transactions include 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 said. PAY ATTENTION: Install our latest app for Android, read best news on Nigeria’s #1 news app The witness 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 the company. “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,” the statement said adding that the same Daura revealed that the sums were converted into $265, 000 and $195, 735 respectively, at the rate of N360 to an American dollar, and handed in cash to one Alhaji Sabo, supposedly on behalf of the company.
The court has adjourned to July 1, 2019, for continuation of trial and ruling on two pending motions by the trial judge. Read more: https://www.legit.ng/1245781-lai-mohammed-prosecution-witness-alleged-n25bn-fraud.html