Immediate past Director General of the National Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba; a contractor, Mr. Basil Udotai and four companies, alleged to have been used to divert money meant for digital television broadcasting, have denied allegations levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalled that the former DG, Basil Udotai and his company, Technology Advisor LLP were accused along with others by the EFCC of having a hand in the diversion of N10bn from the N34bn paid by MTN to the NBC by transferring same to a bank in breach of the federal government’s Treasury Single Account directive. The EFCC said that it had since recovered the diverted N10bn from those who took it.
But Mba and Udotai have vehemently denied ever taking part in the diversion of the said amount, insisting that no such amount was ever taken by them or those who participated in the digital switch process. The denials were contained in two separate letters written by their lawyer, Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), and made available to Nigerian Pilot Saturday.
Mba made it clear that the entire transaction was transparent and was carried out in accordance with the approval granted the NBC by former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Executive Council.
Mba maintained that no money was missing throughout his tenure as the DG of the NBC and that he was proud of his post as an outstanding public servant with over 25 years of experience in the communication 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 the due processes and acquired appropriate approvals from its board of directors, the then Minister of Information, the former Minister of Communication Technology and President Goodluck Jonathan. “We were given approval to fast track the NBC to successfully transit Nigeria to digital broadcasting. Contrary to your story, there was no sharing of any N34bn by the officials of the NBC. “All funds paid out were for contracts approved by the board of the NBC and relevant agencies,” Mba said.
In a different letter, Udotai stated that his transactions with the NBC were transparent and received the approval of the former President, Goodluck Jonathan. Udotai said the transparent nature of his consultancy business made it possible for the government to earn over N500 million.
The Technology Advisor Chief Executive explained that he was retained to manage the entire process as the lead consultant by the NBC and that he only received 10 per cent as legal fees from the board of the NBC and paid more than N500m to the Federal Inland Revenue Service as taxes.
Mba’s lawyer said, “The truth is that our clients, whose proposal on Digital Switch Over Funding led to the president’s approval, was later retained to manage the entire process as legal consultant by the NBC to among other roles, prepare all memoranda and documentations required for all the approvals, develop the project framework, manage the special auction licensing process and drafted the DTT Licence agreement.
“Our client’s services were totally performance-based and were not to attract upfront payment or any payment at all throughout the entire period of the project or unless the funding conceptualised in its proposal is realised.
“The law firm’s demand as legal and professional fees was payment of 20 percent of the fund raised, which was negotiated downward to 10 percent by the NBC board and accepted by our client. No money was given to our client without consideration as reported.
“From the legal fees our client received, he paid more than N500 million as taxes to the federal government and what he did with his professional fees would not be of any relevance to a third party,” the lawyer said.

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