ABUJA – The Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday, fixed May 2, for arraignment of Mallam Moddibo Kawu, Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, (ICPC).
The court had at the last adjourned date, fixed April 17 for arraignment but the absence of Mr Dipo Onifade, the second defendant in the matter made it impossible for the ICPC to proceed with the arraignment of the others.
Kawu, alongside the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Mr Lucky Omoluwa and Onifade, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, were to be arraigned by the ICPC.
They were to be arraigned over their complicity in the misapplication of the N2.5 billion seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over (DSO) programme of the Federal Government.
When the matter was called, lawyer to Onifade, Mr Alex Izinyon (SAN), told the court that his client was on his way to Abuja from Kaduna to attend court.
This prompted the trial judge, Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo to stand the matter down for over an hour.
When Onifade failed to show up, Izinyon prayed the court to adjourn the matter to enable him reach his client since his efforts to reach him so far had been futile.
“I am just apprehensive that all is well with him. His MTN phone number cannot be reached, this is my predicament and I am passionately pleading with you your Lordship to defer this arraignment.
“We are supposed to clear the preliminary stage today with the arraignment but please grant me the indulgence of shifting this arraignment as I do not want to make categorical statement on his presence tomorrow”, Izinyon said.
Justice Giwa-Ogunnlbanjo adjourned the matter until May 2 for arraignment since the prosecuting counsel, Mr Henry Emore raised no objections.
The judge also advised Izinyon to ensure that his client arrived Abuja a day before the next adjourned date to avoid a reoccurrence.
Kawu and the other defendants are facing a 12-count charge bordering on abuse of office, money laundering and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the Federal Government.
The ICPC contends that this is in contravention of Section 19 of its Act.