N2.5bn Fraud: You have a Case to Answer, Appeal Court tells Kawu, Others

The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, has dismissed the appeal filed by the suspended Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Moddibbo Kawu, challenging the decision of the Federal High Court, to dismiss the no case submission he filed at the lower court.

Kawu, Mr. Lucky Omoluwa (late Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Ltd) and Dipo Onifade,Chief Operating Officer of the same company, were jointly charged before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for allegedly paying the sum of N2.5 billion seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) projectto Pinnacle Communications Limited.

ICPC, in a 12-count charge, arraigned them forabuse of office, money laundering and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the Federal Government, in contravention of Sections 26 (1) (c) and punishable under the Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Kawu, through his counsel, A. U. Mustapha (SAN) filed a no case submission in December, 2019 at the close of the prosecution’s case, praying the court to discharge and acquaint him of the charge brought against him by ICPC.

Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa while delivering her ruling in February 2020, held that ICPC had established a prima facie against Kawu, Onifade and Pinnacle Communications Limited, and ruled that they have a case to answer.

The suspended NBC boss and his co-accused then approached the appellate court to upturn the judgment of the Federal High Court.

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, in its ruling, dismissed the no case submission filed by Kawu and his co-accused and held that they had an explanation to give when he elected to facilitate the payment of N2.5 billion to a private company against the provisions of Section 13 of the government white paper guiding the operation of the Digital Switch-Over programme.