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CSOs condemn ICPC over harassment of businessmen, blame them for incompetence

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A coalition of civil society organizations comprising of Competent Government for Accountability and Civic Trust, South-South Youth Peace Mission, and Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative, have faulted the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over the charges against Modibbo Kawu, Dipo Onifade, Sir Lucky Omoluwa and Pinnacle Communication Ltd, which is currently in court, as Pinnacle Communication and the boss of the organization have nothing to do with all the imbroglio the company and boss are being dragged into.

The statement was jointly signed by the President Competence Governance for accountability and Civic Trust, Comrade Omoba Micheal, the Deputy President Urhobo of the South-South Youth Peace Mission, Amb. Omoba Micheal and the Executive Director of Beyond Boundaries Legacies Leadership Initiatives, Comrade Omaga E. Daniel.

First, the petition on this matter was written against ITS and not Pinnacle Communication, of which the petitioner accused ITS of supplying sub-standard equipment/refurbished materials for the Digital Switch Over (DSO), and till date those sites ITS claimed they have worked on which are Ilorin, Oshogbo, Enugu and Jos are not working yet. They have accepted that during the process of their investigation they, ICPC decided to drag Pinnacle Communication into the matter.

NBC lincencee, Pinnacle Communication only worked in Kaduna and Abuja DSO respectively and has been commissioned by the government. In Kaduna, it was through Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, on 25 December 2017. While the National launch of the DSO was done by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on 22 December 2016, at the site of Pinnacle Communication in Mpape, Abuja, using Pinnacle facilities.

These are the two sites Pinnacle Communication worked on and there is no problem with these sites or petition against their work.

The N2.5 billion was Payment for a job well done and commissioned by the Nigerian State. The payment was done 6 months after Pinnacle had executed their part of the job 100%. With the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammad, being the supervising Minister of NBC, to have signed the seed grant payment alone, shows that everything was checked and in order, before such payment was made under this administration that scrutinizes everything.

Contrary to ICPC allegation that the N2.5 billion seed grant was not legally paid to Pinnacle Communication, the CSOs said that the White Paper stipulated that the NBC should do everything possible for ITS and Pinnacle to have the same level playground because ITS already has 157 broadcasting installations across Nigeria via NTA. Giving ITS 1.77 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 is 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 presidency has not complained about Pinnacle Communication Ltd and its job. The media trial and cheap blackmail used by ICPC to try to extort money from businessmen and blackmail them because some people within the ICPC think they can do whatever is unacceptable.

The CSOs finally concluded that ICPC goofed during the cross-examination process in court by one of their own witness, Mr Charles Adama who was quite petty in his allegations and submissions to the honourable court. That what really cut the attention of the commission towards the Pinnacle Boss was his philanthropic act towards Churches, mosque and charity organization.

ICPC should call her media officials to order to stop misleading the public particularly when this case is still in court and be professional in order not to tarnish the image of well-meaning Nigerians in the private sector. We hereby advice the Presidency for total overhauling of the ICPC which we have advised before now going by the error so far in their quest for the fight against corruption. The leadership of ICPC should steer with dexterity so as not be seen as new wine in an old bottle.

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