2.5bn DSO Project Saga Vs Lai Mohammed, Details of today’s Court ruling

Former Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, failed to look earlier than Justice Folashade Giwa of the Federal High Court Abuja, to clarify his function within the alleged approval of N2.5billion to Pinnacle Communications Ltd.

The cash was for the aim of the Federal Government Digital Switch Over (DSO) venture.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Alhaji Lai Mohammed

 

The sitting was in continuation of the trial of the Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo, Pinnacle Communications Ltd, and two others.

Mohammed was listed by the ICPC prosecution counsel, Henry Emore as extra witness to provide testimony on the approval of fee of N2.5 billion to Pinnacle.

However, after calling two witnesses, the prosecution counsel knowledgeable the court that the quick previous Information Minister was not in court.

Umore mentioned the previous minister had travelled out of the nation however was anticipated again within the nation on or earlier than July 31.

In addition, the court was advised that Mohammed made his statement earlier than the ICPC.

The prosecution counsel additionally knowledgeable the court that the opposite witness he wished to name, was nonetheless in Saudi Arabia.

However, Alex Izinyon, SAN, counsel to Onifade Oladipupo, (2nd defendant), and Lucky Omoluwa (third defendant), advised the court that he had already filed an application to oppose the listing of extra witness filed by the prosecution counsel.

Izinyon mentioned the defence crew had already joined points with the prosecution on the failure of ICPC to name Mohammed who authorised the fee of N2.5billion to Pinnacle and joined him as a defendant within the case.

A witness referred to as by the ICPC alleged that the previous minister refused to make statement to the ICPC, claiming that he wanted to get clearance from the Secretary to Government of the Federation.

Earlier, upon cross-examination by Izinyon, a prosecution witness Olugbemi Abraham, advised the court that “during investigation, we could not interview Mohammed because he said he needed clearance from the Secretary to Government of the Federation.”

Abraham, nonetheless,revealed that they later took statement from Mohammed in the course of the pendency of the case.

He admitted that, “Really, we did not bother to get in touch with the SGF to enable him allow the former Information Minister to make statement.”

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Abraham additionally admitted that NBC, based mostly on the supply of the White Paper that authorities ought to present situation for a degree enjoying discipline for sign distributors, was in place to find out the extent enjoying discipline.

“Further extra, the witness admitted that the N2.5 billion was launched underneath the supervision of the previous Information Minister.

“Under additional cross examination by Amah Etuwewe, counsel to the fourth defendant (Pinnacle Communications), the witness mentioned upon investigation, they didn’t worth the ability put in place by Pinnacle on the Abuja DSO web site.

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“To one of the best of my data, the Presidency that launched the N10billion to the NBC for the aim of DSO has not complained of how the fund was used.

“I am not aware if the former Minister had withdrawn his approval.”

Meanwhile, Justice Giwa, has adjourned the case till July 1, for ruling on a motion by the 2nd and third defendants searching for the release of their worldwide passports to allow them journey overseas for official capabilities

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