Okupe’s programme, “Insight” was aired free of charge, ex-NTA DG insists

Doyin Okupe in Court

Mr Musa Mayaki, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness in the ongoing trial of a former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe,said the programme, “Insight” was aired on the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA) for free.

Mayaki, a former Director-General of NTA said this under cross examination in the over N200 million suit filed against Okupe, a former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan by the EFCC.

Mayaki told a Federal High Court Abuja that : “As DG, it was my schedule to know any kobo that came to NTA. It is my evidence that no money was paid for the programme Insight.

“It is common knowledge in NTA that no programme from the presidency is paid for, anyone who collects money for it can be sacked.”

When asked if he was aware that after he gave directives that the programme be aired for free, some staff went ahead to collect money for it, he said no and that no one would have gone against his directives.

Okupe had in his statement to the EFCC said that his office paid NTA for the programme.

The judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, adjourned the case until Thursday for continuation of cross-examination.

Okupe is facing a 59-count charge for allegedly receiving over N200 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki without offering any services.

On March a second prosecution witness, a former Executive Director, News, Nigerian Television Authority, Mr Olusola Atere, while testifying in court, stirred a controversy when he said he could “not recall” authoring a letter said to be bearing NTA logo, his name, and signature.

The letter produced in court by the defence team led by Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), was said to have been addressed to Okupe’s office as SSA to the President, acknowledging the presidential aide’s ‘OK’ payment of about N3m for the sponsorship of a programme, ‘Insight’, on NTA.

The defence said the letter not only acknowledged the payment of the N3m but also requested more money for the programme which was said to have been aired by the national television for many months.

Responding under cross-examination, Atere, who had in his evidence-in-chief, told the court that the programme was aired by NTA as part of its corporate social responsibility on a free-of-charge basis, said he could not recall authoring the letter.

Asked by Gazdama if the signature on the document was his, the witness, said, “I can’t recall writing this letter because the signature slightly looks different from my signature.”

The witness repeated the same line when asked the same question at different times.