BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – Following months of investigations bothering on allegations of corruption and ongoing trial in court, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Modibbo Kawu, with immediate effect.
The development followed a recommendation by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), that advised the Presidency to suspend Modibbo Kawu and 32 public officers and civil servants currently undergoing corruption.
A dependable source within the Presidency and the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, alluded to the fact that the NBC Director General, was handed over his letter of suspension on Thursday, pending the conclusion of trial in the case of alleged corruption against him.
In his place, the most senior Director at the NBC, Mr. Armstrong Idachaba, who heads the department of Broadcast Monitoring, was given a letter to act as the Director General pending further directive.
It was however gathered that Kawu may be reinstated at the end of his trial in court if he is found not guilty of the allegations against him.
Several attempts made to reach Mr. Kawu on phone were unsuccessful as his known telephone lines did not go through.
Surprisingly, the spokesperson of the NBC, Antia Ekanem, feign ignorance of the suspension of the DG by the Presidency.
The ICPC on May 2, 2019, arraigned Mr Kawu and two others, Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa, over alleged N2.5 billion fraud.
The three accused are being prosecuted on a 12-count charge of conspiracy by using the office of the Director General to confer a corrupt advantage on Mr Omoluwa, a friend and associate of Kawu.
However, Kawu alleged that the Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed approved the payment of N2.5 billion to Pinnacle Communications Ltd owned by Mr Omoluwa as “Seed Grant” under the Digital Switch-Over Programme of the federal government.
The anti-graft agency is however insisting that Kawu allegedly deceived the Minister into signing the deal.
The suspended NBC DG, and his co-defendants are currently on bail granted them by the Court.