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NBC Boss Fraud Trial: ICPC closes case as Information Minister fails to appear in court

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has closed the alleged fraud case against Ishaq Kawu, the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

The anti-graft agency closed the case on Tuesday after its efforts to produce the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed to appear in court to testify in the matter failed.

The trial of Kawu was stalled at different occasions owing to the failure of the minister to appear in court.

Mohammed, was meant to appear as a prosecution witness to tell his role in Kawu’s alleged misapplication of the N2.5 billion funds for the Federal Government’s Digital Switch-Over (DSO) programme.

The ICPC had in February filed a 12-count charge before a judge, Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, against Mr Kawu, Lucky Omoluwa, and Dipo Onifade, the chairman and chief operating officer of Pinnacle Communications Limited respectively, for allegedly misappropriating N2.5 billion.

The minister had earlier told ICPC investigators that he was “deceived” into approving the project, according to the commission’s spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, implying the minister did not do due diligence before signing off on the project.

The judge has recently vowed to close the case against the defendants should it fail to produce Mohammed and a subpoenaed bureau de change operator in court as witness on December 3.

Following its inability to produce Mohammed in the court, the prosecution counsel, Henry Emoreh, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, said “though the case was for continuation of trial, however, we intend to close the case of the prosecution and we are not calling any more witnesses”.

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