Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, has described the statement of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on investigations into N2.5 billion said to have been paid to Pinnacle Communications Limited, licensed private signal distributor in the Digital Switch Over (DSO) project, as inaccurate and misleading.
Answering questions from newsmen in his office in Abuja Thursday on the ICPC statement alleging “misapplication” of the funds meant for DSO by NBC, the DG observed that the ICPC did not have the correct identity of the NBC which it referred to as the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and also wrongly described the DSO as dealing with the migration of telephone lines whereas it actually had to do with switch over of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) signals from analogue to digital. He added that the statement could not have been based on genuine investigation by the ICPC.
The director general emphasized that contrary to the impression conveyed in the ICPC statement, Pinnacle Communications Limited was not only duly licensed as the private signal distributor for the DSO in accordance with section 11. 2 (a) and (b) of the Federal Government White Paper on implementation of the DSO after a transparent bidding process and payment of N685 million since 2014 but was currently the “largest single contributor to the successful roll out of the DSO in the country”.
He said the company withdrew its court case which stalled the DSO since 2014 until the inception of the Buhari administration when it voluntarily agreed to support the new administration’s determination to correct the infractions on its license under the previous administration and give the new NBC director general a chance to achieve successful DSO by withdrawing its suit and later facilitated the National Launch of the DSO in December 2016 from its Mpape Hill Broadcast Centre in Abuja and the launch in Kaduna in December 2017 from its Kaduna Broadcast Centre, both of which had remained on air uninterrupted till date.
Malam Modibbo Kawu stated that Pinnacle was not paid “seed grant” as claimed by the ICPC but for services duly rendered in accordance with the White Paper on DSO, adding that all companies involved in the DSO implementation such as ITS/NTA public licensed signal distributor, set top box manufacturers, content aggregators, satellite provider, call center as well staff training received similar payment under supervision and approval of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.