OrderPaperToday – An anti-corruption Coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has asked the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, to release details of expenditure on payment for the ongoing Digital Switch Over (DSO) including the N9.4b the Federal Government paid to the stakeholders.
In a letter addressed to the Minister last week and signed by its Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the coalition asked the Minister to make available to the public how the N9.4b funds released to the stakeholders was spent insisting that the Minister has immediate obligation to make public how the DSO funds were expended.
The letter with the caption “Request for information on the N9.4b approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI ACT 2011)” was sent to the Minister last Monday.
In March 2021, during the unveiling of the 13 – member Ministerial Task Force on Digital Switch Over (DSO), the minister announced that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the sum of N9.4 Billion as outstanding payment to key DSO stakeholders.
The funds for the DSO have been courted by controversy amidst reports that the expenditure is shrouded in corruption allegations. Some N2.5 billion of the funds, for instance, were given as seed grant to a private company which led to the suspension and arraignment of a former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The CSNAC requests include but not limited to evidence of payments made to the stakeholders/beneficiaries of the N9.4 Billion, agreement of engagement of the DSO stakeholders and detailed expenditure that meets global standard.
“Nigerians have the right to know how the funds were spent. We are making the request in the overall public interest and in line with transparency and accountability in public administration” Mr. Suraju said in the letter addressed to the minister.
The requests by CSNAC is hinged on legal framework of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2021 which mandates public access to vital information in line with Section 2, 3 and 4 of the FOI Act, 2011.
“We have given you seven days to respond to the request. This is necessary for the Information Ministry to avoid necessary charges in the Court of law” the letter concluded.