Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, arrested the Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Emeka Mba, over an alleged N15 billion fraud.
Mba was arrested in Abuja and taken to the EFCC’s headquarters where he is currently being grilled.
However, although the arrest was alleged to be connected with a company involved in the $2.1 arms deal, investigations by Nigerian Pilot, however, revealed that Mba’s arrest may not be unconnected with the about $170million (over N20billion) paid to the commission by the mobile GSM service provider, MTN. The amount was to assist NBC meet the 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union, ITU for countries to switch over to digital broadcasting. Nigeria failed to meet the deadline, prompting stakeholders to call for investigation of the role of NBC in the matter and how fund budgeted for the project was utilized.
As at the time of filling in this report, Mba was still being quizzed by the operatives of the EFCC at the headquarters in Wuse 2, Abuja.
Efforts to get the reaction of the spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren proved abortive as he refused to pick his calls. However, the Head, Public Affairs of the NBC, Mr. Awwalu Salihu confirmed that his boss was with the EFCC, but denied the report that he was arrested. According to him, Mba went to the commission on his volition in response to a letter of invitation sent to him by the EFCC.
Before his arrest yesterday, the commission and its officials have been under the EFCC investigation for the past one month.
Last week, some detectives stormed the headquarters of the NBC, ransacked computers, documents and official files in the Finance and Accounts unit. They took away some key accounts staff as well as vital documents.
It was gathered that some of the arrested officials made confessional statements to the EFCC implicating Mba and some top officials of the NBC.
But the commission quickly denied the report, stating that it was not the primary target of the EFCC but a company linked with the ongoing investigation of $2.1 billion arms deal involving former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki.
A statement it issued last week reads: ‘‘The EFCC officials actually came to NBC, but they came to clarify certain information they got in the course of their investigation about the ongoing $2.1 billion arms deal by the former National Security Adviser. It wasn’t anything to do with NBC directly.
‘‘The claim by some media reports that the EFCC officials went away with some staff of NBC was not true, as the director of finance they claimed, Mr. Patrick Areh had been on leave, and the Director General was on working leave and couldn’t have been in the office as at the time of the visit.
‘‘Knowing EFCC, they do not give information when they want to visit any body, so the report that the directors at NBC got the wind of EFCC coming and ran away was out of place. If they want to visit for investigation, it is always impromptu. The DG has resumed because of this development and he has not been invited by EFCC. I repeat, the issue has nothing to do with NBC or its directors.
‘‘They just got information on what they were looking for and left. And nobody in NBC has been invited back to EFCC. We still carry on with our responsibility. I don’t think, giving out additional information to help out EFCC in the course of their job is bad. ‘‘The young fellow that came here did not spend more than two hour. All the officers in the commission were available, except the DG and two other director of finance, who has been on leave since 22 December and a few directors because of the season.
‘‘The investigation is not bothering us, every staff is on duty, the DG is also around and nobody has been invited. Knowing EFCC, if it was about NBC, somebody would have spent a night there, and then if the person did not spend a night, they would have invited him.’’
But the arrest of Mba yesterday, according to observers, has put a lie to the NBC claims.

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