THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered N10,061,172,600 from the National Broadcasting Commission(NBC) being alleged inflation of collateral funds meant for Digital Set-Top -Boxes.
The commission is set to prosecute a former Director-General of NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba and three others, The Nation report.
Also to face trial is the NBC’s Director of Finance, Mr. Patrick Areh, who received a curious transfer of N390million and another N20million cash gift from the contract sum.
Others are the Managing Director, Technology Advisor, Mr. Basil Udotai, and the Managing Director of In-View Technology Limited and D-Vine Partners Limited, Mr. Babatunji Amure.
According to EFCC’s investigation, NBC under Mba defied the Federal Government’s directive of August 7, 2015 on Treasury Single Account (TSA) to divert N15,038,400,000, out of N34,114,500,000 received from MTN for Spectrum Band Width, to finance the contract for the Digital Set-Top -Boxes.
Out of the diverted N15,038,400,000 as collateral security to Zenith Bank Plc, EFCC investigators discovered that only N4,977,227,400 was needed.
The commission said “only eight (8) out of the 12 companies opened letter of credit amounting to N3,739,727,400.00 while the sum of N1,237,400,000 was for the Digital Access Fees making a total of N4,977,227,400.”
The EFCC said after a reconciliation meeting with the Ministry of Information and Zenith Bank Plc, it was “agreed that N10,061,172,600 was in excess and should be recovered by the EFCC.”
Mba and others will face trial for non-compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on TSA, abuse of the Procurement Law, and award of contracts beyond the N50million spending limit of the DG of NBC.
A document obtained last night reads in part: “Sometimes in 2015, the Federal Government through the Office of the Head of Service issued a circular dated 7/8/2015 directing all government parastatals and agencies to mop up all government funds in commercial banks to Treasury Single Account( TSA) with CBN.
“However the NBC in a flagrant disobedience to the directives of the government diverted the funds in its accounts to some companies.
“That on 28/7/15, the NBC received an inflow of N34,114,500,000 (Thirty four billion, one hundred and fourteen million, five hundred thousand Naira) from the MTN Operations Account being proceed of lease of Spectrum Band Width licensed to MTN by the commission.
“That while the funds were in the account of NBC, the FG issued a circular dated 07/08/2015 to the effect that all government agencies and parastatals should mop up and move all the funds in their accounts to Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the CBN. This directive was to both the agencies and the banks that maintained those accounts.
“That despite the directives, the DG National Broadcasting Commission and the bank in a flagrant disobedience to the directive transferred the sum of N2,899,500,000 to the account of Technology Advisor on 12/08/15 and then moved the sum of N15,038,400,000 in two tranches on 10/09/2015 and 14/09/2015 to Zenith Bank Plc which he claimed was a collateral security for Set-Top-Boxes suppliers while the balance of N15,891,625,341.57 was transferred to TSA in CBN on 15/09/2015.
“That as soon as Technology Advisor received the funds in its account, he commenced distribution to several beneficiaries which include N390,000,000 and N20,000,000 paid to the Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr. Patrick Areh through Kalaz Ventures Limited, a Bureau De Change operated by Abdullahi Kabiru who confirmed receiving the funds which he transferred the sum of N130million to Azuku Global Resources Limited while the balance was exchanged into dollars and handed over to MD Azuku Global Resources Limited, one Ibrahim Samaila fir onward transmission to the Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr. Patrick Areh.
“That Areh confirmed receiving part of the funds in dollars while the balance of N130million was given to Azuku Global Resources Limited for the construction of his Radio House at Onitsha, Anambra State.
“That In-View Technology Ltd was contracted to provide Digital Access for the Set-Top -Boxes and was paid N1,237,400,000 out of which the company transferred N20million to Patrick Areh through Azuku Global Resources