Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has been directed to return the N10 billion seized from Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Malam Is’haq Modibbo-Kawu, Director General of the commission said.
Modibbo-Kawu, who announced this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, said President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive.
The money was seized by EFCC during the tenure of former DG of NBC, Mr Emeka Mba.
Modibbo-Kawu said the money was still in the custody of the anti-graft agency but that President Buhari had ordered that it be released to the commission.
He said the EFCC was expected to give further details on the release process in due course as directed by the President.
Mba, Basil Udotai and his company, Technology Advisor LLP, were accused along with others by the EFCC of having a hand in an alleged diversion of N10 billion from the N34 billion paid by the MTN to the NBC.
The amount was part of the money meant for digital television broadcasting in the country.
EFCC had also alleged that the money was transferred to a bank in breach of Federal Government’s directive on Treasury Single Account.
Although the EFCC said it had recovered the N10 billion from those who took it, Mba and Udotai denied ever taking part in the diversion of the money.
They insisted that no such money was ever taken by them or those who participated in the digital switch process.
The denials were contained in two separate letters written on their behalf by their lawyer, Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN).
In the letters, Mba made it clear that the entire transaction was transparent and carried out in accordance with the approval granted NBC by former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Executive Council.
Their lawyer maintained that no money was missing throughout Mba’s tenure as DG of NBC and that Mba was proud of his post as an outstanding public servant with over 25 years of experience in the communications and entertainment industry.
The lawyer said: “The truth is that during the tenure of our client as the DG of the NBC, no money was missing, lost or stolen by anyone at the NBC.
“The NBC in all its transactions followed due processes and got appropriate approvals from its board of directors, the then Minister of Information, former Minister of Communications Technology and President Goodluck Jonathan.”
The NBC helmsman informed newsmen of the forthcoming 11th edition of ‘Africast 2016’ scheduled to hold on Oct.18 to Oct. 20.