Alleged N2.9bn Fraud: Witness says ex-NBC boss, Mba conducted no spectrum auction

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Abubakar Madaki, prosecution witness (PW12) in the ongoing trial of a former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Emeka Mba, before Justice Mojisola Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, said there was no trace of any auctioning of spectrum equipment for digital transmission as claimed by Mba and other defendants.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Mba alongside Patrick Areh, Basil Udotai, Babatunji Amure and a company, Technology Advisors, for alleged diversion of funds and money laundering to the tune of N2.9billion, being funds meant for the purchase of setup boxes for digital switch-over of the country from the current analogue system.

During hearing on the matter on September 25 and 26, 2019, Madaki gave vivid accounts of how Mba and others, fraudulently transferred several billions of naira to different bank accounts.

At the resumed trial on October 23, Madaki while being led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Chile Okoroma, further disclosed that, in the course of the investigation, he never saw any evidence that showed that the NBC carried out any auction of spectrum equipment for digital transmission.

According to him, the equipment which was to be auctioned in order to raise funds for the NBC, was instead leased to a telecommunication company, contrary to the claims of the defendants that three telecommunication companies participated in the auction.

Madaki further told the court that he sent letters to the telecommunication companies that were alleged to have participated in the auction , but they all denied participation.

The prosecution counsel tendered in evidence, the EFCC letters to the telecommunication companies, which were admitted by the court. Also, tendered in evidence were the memos from the special adviser to the director-general, concerning the auction, memos from the special adviser to the director-general, indicating and advising Mba, that the third accused person was to raise funds for the NBC for the enablement of digital transmission. Additional statements from the defendants were also admitted as exhibits.

Michael Ajara, counsel to the third defendant, however, objected to the admissibility of an additional statement made by his client, which the prosecution sought to tender on the grounds that the statement was not obtained voluntarily.

Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo adjourned the case to October 24, 2019, for trial-within-trial to determine the voluntariness of the said evidence. However, the court couldn’t sit on October 24, owing to the absence of the judge.

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