ICPC under fire over extortion allegation involving Digital Switchover, DSO

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A coalition of civil society organizations has accused the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, of incompetence and engaging in media trial and cheap blackmail in a bid “to extort money from businessmen” following its claim that Pinnacle Communication Ltd supplied sub-standard equipment/refurbished materials for the Digital Switch Over, DSO, after being paid N2.5 billion seed grant.

The coalition spoke following the anti-graft agency’s involvement of Pinnacle Communication in the failed takeoff of DSO sites worked on by ITS in Ilorin, Oshogbo, Enugu and Jos.

The Competent Government for Accountability, CGACT President, Comrade Omoba Micheal, Deputy President Urhobo of the South-South Youth Mission, SSYPM, Amb. Omoba Micheal and the Executive Director of Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative, BBLLI, Comrade Omaga E. Daniel, in a joint statement, explained that Pinnacle Communication only worked on the Kaduna site which was commissioned by Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed 25 December, 2017 following the national launch of the DSO by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on 22 December, 2016 using Pinnacle facilities in Mpape, Abuja.

Stressing that there were no issues with the two sites Pinnacle Communication worked on, the coalition explained that the N2.5 billion was payment for a job well done and commissioned by the Nigerian government as the payment came six months after Pinnacle had executed their part of the job 100 per cent.

While faulting ICPC’s allegation that the N2.5 billion seed grant was illegally paid to Pinnacle Communication, the CSOs said the White Paper stipulated that the NBC should do everything possible for ITS and Pinnacle to have a level playground because “It already has 157 broadcasting installations across Nigeria via NTA. Giving ITS N1.77 billion naira while pinnacle who has zero broadcast installations from NTA was still giving 2.5 billion naira both in dollar equivalent is not a fair deal. And this are some of the anomalies that made pinnacle Communication to sue NBC to court”.

“That after paying the sum of 650 million naira to the Federal Government as licensing fee so they can qualify as second signal distributor still they are not getting all the necessary assistance from NBC. So where is the illegality coming from according to ICPC?

“Pinnacle Communication Ltd has met its obligations and if ICPC has done its investigations thoroughly they would have known all this instead of wasting their time and taxpayers money trying to tarnish the image of an organization and that of the chairman who should be commended for a job well done”.

The CSOs, while urging the anti-graft commission to restrain its media officials from misleading the public so as not to tarnish the image of well-meaning Nigerians in the private sector, called for a total overhaul of the ICPC, which they said goofed during the cross-examination process in court by one of the commission’s own witnesses, Mr Charles Adama that what really caught ICPC’s attention towards the Pinnacle boss was his philanthropic activities.

 

 

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