17 April 2019

Nigeria: Court Adjourns Okupe's Trial to Thursday

The trial of a former presidential spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, at a Federal High Court in Abuja was yesterday adjourned to Thursday.

Musa Maiyaki, the former Director General of NTA, in his evidence in court yesterday, said he authorised the programme 'INSIGHT' to be aired on NTA "pro bono" as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

He however admitted on further cross-examination, that Okupe funded payments for personnel, resource persons and production charges for the programme, maintaining that it was only the airtime that was not paid for by the office of the special assistant to the President on public affairs.

He also denied knowledge of budget proposals and other letter, which was written by Sola Atere, on behalf of the NTA, to Okupe.

This is a complete contradiction of Atere's evidence who admitted he wrote the letter containing the budget proposal and he signed it.

Mr Tolu Babaleye, counsel to the second defendant, put it across to Mr Maiyaki that while he, Maiyaki, approved the memo for the programme to be aired free, his staff including Sola Atere, Mr. Iorhen Kwange, the producer of the programme, and Mrs Onobu Ikwubiela, a marketing officer in the DG's office went behind him to collect money from Okupe for sundry expenses for the programme.

Counsel for Okupe, Mr Akin Akingbade from JK Gadzama chambers also informed Maiyaki that Mrs Onobu was in fact a director of Ikonac Nigeria Ltd., the company whose account was submitted by the producer to the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, and to which part of the first quarterly payments of 3,030,000 was paid into.

This fact had previously been confirmed by the statement of account of messrs Value Trust Investment LTD, which showed that Ikonac Nigeria LTD was credited with the same amount on 17/10/2013.

Maiyaki responded that he was quite surprised to learn about all these, as he was just hearing of the information.

On further cross-examination by the counsel to the third defendant, Mr Ezenwa Ibegbunam, Maiyaki admitted that the memo approving the Pro Bono status for the programme was not communicated to Dr Okupe or his office by his subordinates, as no record for this exists.

The case continues on Thursday 18 April, 2019.

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