A South African telecoms company, Multichoice in conjunction with its
Nigeria subsidiary has once again failed in its bid to throw spanner in
the works of the smooth migration of the country from analogue television
to digital broadcasting.
Sources revealed that although Multi Choice did not take part in the
competitive bid, it tried to join the process through the back door but
Not done yet, officials of Multi choice allegedly visited the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and after proper scrutiny of their
allegations, they were told the projects were executed.
‘Yes, they came here with the allegation of fraud levelled against the NBC
and Pinnacle Communications. They were said to be enmeshed in N2.5 billion
fraud, we investigated their submission but the allegations could not hold
water, after thorough investigations, we found out that the projects were
executed’ a credible source revealed
Having failed in their bid to scuttle the process of Digital Switch Over
through the EFCC, they proceeded to the Independent Corrupt Practices and
Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and that culminated into the
raging media report of alleged fraud in the award of the Federal
Government’s Digital Switch-Over (DSO) project which was described as a
deliberate attempt targeted at tarnishing the good reputation of the
Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam
Is’haq Modibbo Kawu.
Officials of Pinnacle have distanced the company from any wrong doing and
fraud, so also is the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
NBC further said the attack might have been sponsored against Kawu whose
profile has been on the rise on account of his role in ensuring the smooth
migration of the country from analogue television broadcasting to digital
It was alleged that the NBC boss recommended a private company, Pinnacle
Communications Limited to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai
Mohammed, for the award of the DSO contract to the firm as well as the
release of N2.5bn contract sum.
The report also alleged that Pinnacle Communications was not qualified to
handle the project which is being spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of
Information and Culture.
But contrary to these allegations, investigation has revealed that the
firm won the competitive bid conducted by the then Director General of the
NBC, Emeka Mba, while the said money was approved by the Presidency, and
not the NBC Director General.
Investigation further revealed that The Presidency had in 2016 released
N10bn to the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to implement the
digital switch over programme and a White Paper was issued directing that
the process be specifically handled by two companies– Pinnacle
Communications and ITS, an affiliate of the Nigerian Television Authority
(NTA) – as winners of the bid to handle the project.
“Monies were released to these two companies by the Federal Ministry of
Information and Culture on the orders of the Presidency after the
contracts were carried out”, a source, who pleaded to be anonymous, said.
The source absolved Kawu and Pinnacle Communications of any wrong doing,
stressing that the alleged fraud was sponsored by an aggrieved rival
company that lost out of the contract, he said.
The NBC in a swift reaction to the allegation said it was not aware of any
investigation by the ICPC of its Director General, Mallam Kawu.
The commission’s spokesperson, Hajia Maimuna Jimada, said the NBC “is not
aware of any fraud case involving the DG, and therefore not aware of any
ICPC investigation on the DG.”
Jimada said the commission had been carrying out the Digital Switch-Over
scheme with utmost diligence and transparency, and would continue to do
that till the project was completed across the country.
It would be recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo commissioned the
Abuja project while that of the Kaduna was done by Governor Nasiru el