N2.5bn fraud: ICPC recommends suspension of Kawu, 32 others

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has urged the federal government to suspend the director-general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Dr. Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, and 32 other public officers/civil servants currently undergoing corruption trial.

The Commission, which is prosecuting the officials, said they should be suspended from office pending the conclusion of the cases.

The ICPC also asked the government to, in line with the Public Service Rules, mete out appropriate punishment(s) to other civil servants already convicted for various offences.

Premium Times reports that the recommendations are contained in a letter to the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha

The ICPC said the 33 officials who should be suspended are standing trial for offences such as bribery, certificate forgery, making false statements, conspiracy to steal and outright misappropriation of public funds.

The offences fall under “Serious Acts of Misconduct” in the Public Service Rules.

Section 4 Rule 030402 of the document defines serious acts of misconduct as “specific act of very wrongdoing and improper behaviour which is inimical to the image of the service and which can be investigated and if proven, may lead to dismissal.”

Case against Kawu

ICPC said it is prosecuting Kawu for “using (his) position to confer corruption advantage.”

It would be recalled that the Commission had, on May 2 arraigned Kawu and two others, Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa, over alleged N2.5 billion fraud.

The trio, who are being prosecuted on 12-count charge, allegedly conspired with each other to use the position of Kawu to confer corrupt advantage on Omoluwa, his friend and associate.

The accused allegedly recommended to the minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, to approve payment of N2.5 billion to Pinnacle Communications Ltd owned by Omoluwa as “Seed Grant” under the Digital Switch-Over Programme of the federal government.

Referring to Kawu, the charge sheet said he made the recommendation to the minister “when you knew that the same company was not entitled to receive such grant and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26 (1c) and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”

However, the court granted Kawu and his co-defendants bail the same day after they pleaded not guilty to all the charges through their counsel.

Kawu declined comment when called on phone.

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