By Our Reporter
A prosecution witness called by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Friday Ukwelaon Monday told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that the Digital Switch Over facility put in place by Pinnacle Communications Ltd (PCL), “is world-class”.
Ukwela, a Director, Engineering and Technical, NBC, made the disclosure before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo Giwa, trial judge in the ongoing trial of the Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo, and three others.
Testifying during cross examination by counsel to Pinnacle Communications Ltd (4th defendant) Ama Etuwewe, the ICPC witness also stated that the DSO project “is a very expensive venture”, adding that the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who approved the payment of N2.5 billion to PCL, “is familiar with DSO project, but does not know substantially everything about DSO”.
“I know that the DSO is a very expensive project. Yes, I was part of the team that visited and inspected the DSO facility put in place by Pinnacle Communications Ltd.
“It is a world class facilty and has been in operation till date” the witness told the court, while answering questions from the 4th defendant’s lawyer.
Furthermore, the fifth prosecution witness stated that going by the government White Paper on the DSO project, “it was agreed that signal distributors should be paid for services rendered.”
However, Ukwela disclosed that television stations whose signals are being distributed by PCL across the length and breadth of Nigeria had not been paying for carriage fees because the fees had not been determined by the industry.
It would be recalled that one Charles Adama, the fourth prosecution witness, had admitted that the N2.5billion was part of the N10billion released by the Federal Government to execute the DSO Project in the country and that the NBC had not received any complaint from the FG in respect of the money paid to PCL