The ongoing trial of Doyin Okupe, a former presidential spokesperson, at the Federal High Court in Abuja has been adjourned till Thursday.
In his evidence at the court, Musa Maiyaki, the former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), said he authorised the programme ‘INSIGHT’ to be aired pro bono on NTA as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) affir.
However, Maiyaki 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 knowledging budget proposals and other letters written by Sola Atere, on behalf of the NTA, to Dr. Okupe.
This is a complete contradiction of Atere’s evidence that he wrote the letter containing the budget proposal and he signed it.
Tolu Babaleye, counsel to the second defendant, put it across to Maiyaki that while he, Maiyaki, approved the memo for the programme to be aired free, his staff, including Sola Atere, 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 to Okupe, 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.
On further cross-examination by the counsel to the third defendant, Ezenwa Ibegbunam, Maiyaki admitted that the memo approving the pro bono status for the programme was not communicated to Okupe or his office by his subordinates, as no record for this exists.
The case was adjoured till Thursday 18 April, 2019.