N15b Digitisation Funds:  EFCC Grills NBC Chief Mba, Account Workers | Independent Newspapers Limited
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N15b Digitisation Funds:  EFCC Grills NBC Chief Mba, Account Workers

Posted: Jan 12, 2016 at 9:48 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday grilled National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Director-General Emeka Mba and some Account workers over the ongoing investigation of about N15 billion for digitisation process.

Mba’s  invitation followed the earlier raid of the NBC headquarters, which is within the precinct of the Presidential Villa, about two weeks ago.

A source said: “The DG of NBC was grilled for hours on the activities of the commission, including the management of about N15 billion voted for some projects.

“The DG has made statement and our officials have also raised a few issues for him to clarify based on facts at our disposal.

“We were at the broadcasting commission about two weeks ago, but most of the top staff were unavailable, having got wind of our operation.

“This is a routine development, the EFCC will release the details later.”

A source in the Ministry of Information said: “What we know is that Mba was invited by the EFCC in connection with the management of funds voted for set up boxes or decoders for digitisation of the nation’s broadcasting system.

“You know that the Federal Government set up a National Digitisation Committee for the graduation of the country from analogue broadcasting to digitisation

“A substantial budget was voted for the process. I think some people raised the alarm about the funds and the EFCC decided to look into the issue.

“This is the basic fact at our disposal, but the EFCC may have dug deeper than that. Definitely, NBC is a public institution, it has to be accountable for its conduct, including financial commitments. We will await the official findings of the anti-graft agency.

“By our records, Mba was invited by the EFCC and he went to honour it. Maybe other things transpired after the invitation, we don’t know.”

EFCC Head of Media and Publicity Wilson Uwujaren said he was out of Abuja as at press time.

But there was panic at the NBC headquarters yesterday following the arrest of Mba.

Many top officials of the government agency hurriedly closed their offices as operatives of the anti-graft agency ransacked the DG’s office before whisking him away.

A witness confirmed to correspondent that it was the second time in the year that the EFCC would swoop on the NBC with a large number of operatives to effect an arrest of a top official.

The source said the operatives came last week Monday, but could not arrest the DG and some of his top officials who failed to turn up in office after they were informed of the fate awaiting them.

He added that with the way things were going at the agency, there were fears that more people might be arrested by the EFCC in the days ahead.

However, the NBC’s Director Public Communications, Malam Awwalu Salihu, was not available for comment yesterday.

Only last weekend, some operators in the telecommunications industry expressed shock over the activities of the NBC.

They called for a comprehensive probe of the commission under the leadership of Mba.

The operators, who spoke at separate interviews in Abuja at a Consultative Forum, faulted the regulatory body on the awards of contracts for the production of set-up boxes for digital broadcasting.