A newly-obtained batch of documents has further exposed how information minister Lai Mohammed was instrumental to the release of N2.5 billion in questionable payments to a private digital broadcast signal provider.
The payments in May 2017 to Pinnacle Communications Limited by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) have now been deemed fraudulent by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC). The agency had also brought charges against four individuals, including the director-general of NBC, Modibbo Kawu.
Mr Kawu, as well as Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade, the two Pinnacle executives also standing trial for the payments, all denied allegations of fraud.
Mr Mohammed, as the minister supervising NBC, approved the payment to Pinnacle, a private digital broadcast signal carrier. The minister was also involved in several negotiations and foreign trips that preceded the payment.
When he was questioned by detectives, Mr Mohammed said he only signed documents as forwarded to him for approval by Mr Kawu. He also did not deny the possibility of fraud in the N2.5 billion payments he approved.
Mr Kawu admitted to PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Mohammed approved the payment request as he presented it to him, but did not accept responsibility for the minister’s consent.