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Pinnacle Kicks as ICPC Freezes Account over Alleged N2.5Bn Fraud, Court Rules December 14

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed December 14, for ruling in a motion on notice challenging the freezing of an account belonging to Pinnacle Communications Ltd by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over allegation of N2.5bn fraud.

 

Pinnacle Communications Limited is the only private licenced signal distributor for the Federal Government approved implementation of the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting in Nigeria in accordance with the 2012 government White Paper section 11.2 (a) which approved that ‘more than one signal distributor be licenced in addition to NTA-the public licenced signal distributor. Another signal distributor should be licensed immediately.

 

In 2014, Pinnacle emerged successful bidder out of nine companies after a rigorous public tender and full compliance with due process.

 

The ICPC had claimed that Pinnacle was fraudulently recommended to the Minister of Information and Culture for the release of N2.5bn against the guidelines contained in the White Paper.

 

The date was fixed by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba after the submissions of counsel in the matter.

 

Moving his motion on notice, the plaintiff’s counsel urged the court to lift the order of post-no-debit placed on the account of Pinnacle domiciled in Zenith bank.

 

  1. Ekanem SAN, plaintiff counsel, told the court that the ICPC has not adduced cogent reasons why the order freezing the account should be granted.

 

Ekanem argued that what the commission has continued to say was that they are still conducting investigation on the source of the fund.

 

He disclosed that chairman of Pinnacle as a mark of respect for ICPC honoured an invitation extended to him on November 14, where he made statement under caution and was subsequently granted bail.

 

“You cannot clamp down our client’s account based on mere suspicion and not even with a valid court order” the plaintiff’s counsel posited.

 

Reacting to the notices of preliminary objection filed by E. A Shogunle, counsel to the 1st respondent (ICPC), and Abdullahi Abubakar, counsel for the 3rd respondent (AGF), Ekanem insisted that the claim of respondents that they are challenging jurisdiction of court to hear the matter was misconceived.

 

Counsel to Pinnacle told the court that his client is not challenging any order made by a magistrate court because “there was no order of court freezing the account of the plaintiff.

 

The plaintiff’s counsel in urging the court to dismiss the objection said what the respondents referred to as an order of court was an ICPC order.

 

Ekanem told the court that the 21 days given to ICPC to conclude investigation and unfreeze the account have elapsed, yet the agency did not comply with the directive.

 

However, ICPC and AGF contended that the plaintiff’s claim was purely a matter between the company and Zenith bank, and therefore should be at the Federal Capital Territory High Court.

 

Shogunle argued that what the ICPC did was temporary seizure of the fund pending outcome of investigation.

 

He stated that there was evidence of money laundering which suggested that the fund was a proceed of unlawful activity.

 

Consequently, Shogunle said, in accordance with section 45 of ICPC Act, the commission’s chairman can order a bank to temporarily freeze a suspected account.

 

After hearing counsel, Justice Dimgba fixed December 14, for ruling.

 

A recent statement by Rasheedat Okoduwa, ICPC spokesperson, last Thursday, had mentioned the company among those quizzed in connection with the alleged fraud.

 

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Ayeni Adekunle, BHM Founder to Speak At 2019 Africa Communications Week

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Ayeni Adekunle, CEO, Black House Media (BHM) has been confirmed to speak at a masterclass during the 2019 Africa Communications Week.

 

The masterclass which is themed “Strategies for Driving Disruptive Innovation In Communications” will see Ayeni share his wealth of experience with the audience.

 

The event will hold at Oriental Hotel on Thursday, May 24, 2019.

 

Africa Communications Week is the premier gathering for communications professionals and thought leaders looking to impact the current narrative on Africa.

 

The organisation hosts a series of conferences, workshops and webinars around the world to encourage Africa focused communications professionals connect, engage and impact Africa’s economic transformation through strategic communication.

 

Ayeni was listed as one of the top 30 communications professionals in Africa in a report released by the organisation on April 16, 2019.

 

Speaking ahead of the Masterclass, Ayeni said, “Over the years, the African Communications Week has offered communication professionals like me, the chance to meet, network and rub minds.

 

“This also gives us the opportunity to discuss the impact of communication of Africa’s development.

 

I’m excited to be part of this year’s event and I look forward to speaking and sharing ideas with the audience”.

 

Africa Communications Week is an annual event which hosts various marketing communications professionals from all over the continent.

 

With various industry stakeholders in attendance, the event provides the opportunity for like minds to convene, connect, engage and impact economic transformation in the continent through strategic communication.

 

 

 

 

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World Cultural Day: Ariya Repete Returns, Introduces New Afro-Pop Category

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Nigeria’s foremost talent hunt competition for indigenous Yoruba music is back for yet another edition.

 

The 2019 Edition of Ariya Repete was announced on the 21st of May at a media briefing hosted at the Nigerian Breweries Headquarters in Lagos.

 

The day, which also marked the World cultural & diversity day, provided the perfect incentive for Goldberg Lager to unveil the beloved talent hunt competition.

 

The media briefing featured an excellent roundtable conversation by some veterans in traditional genres of Yoruba music (i.e Juju, Fuji) as well as some new generation artists whose music has been influenced by the Yoruba culture.

 

Moderated by leading on-air personality – Adebayo Faleke, the panelists included veterans like Dr Saheed Osupa, Sir Shina Peters, Yinka Davis, President of FUMAN, Alhaji Sikiru Agboola as well as Tolu Obey, who is a PMAN executive and the son of Legendary Juju artist, Ebenezer Obey.

 

The new generation was ably represented by the likes of Sound Sultan and renowned music producer ID Cabasa.

 

The panel discussion which was themed around the topic – “One Culture, One Voice, New Sound” provided the perfect platform to announce the return of one of the most revered initiatives that celebrate the Yoruba culture.

 

The panelists discussed the evolution of indigenous Yoruba genres of music, highlighting the roles played by both the older and younger generation of artists.

 

The exciting roundtable conversations were an eye opener as the artists shared various insights into the past and potential future of the industry.

 

This year’s edition of Ariya Repete is set to up the ante and will be the first ever to be aired on television with the aim to reach an even wider audience.

 

This is particularly exciting for fans of the show as the 2019 Ariya Repete will be introducing an all-new category tagged ‘Afro Pop’.

 

The introduction of Afro-Pop has already got fans eagerly anticipating the selection parties which will be kicking off in various cities across western Nigeria on the 11th of June.

 

Maria Shadeko, Senior Brand Manager of Goldberg & Life Lager who spoke at the round table session expressed delight at the return of the talent hunt,

 

“Ariya Repete is a very special platform that allows us to showcase and celebrate the very best talents in South-Western Nigeria.

 

“Over the years, we have been able to continually delight our consumers with this initiative as well as provide unforgettable memories for winners of past editions.

 

“This year we are taking it further by not only increasing the prize money but also adding an all-new category.

 

“The theme of this year’s competition is ‘The Fusion’, and in light of this, we are looking for the next big artist who will dominate the Nigerian music scene.

 

“We, at Goldberg, applaud the innovative and inspiring fusion of traditional Yoruba music with contemporary music.

 

“This year, with Ariya Repete we want to celebrate this blend of both worlds.

 

“We believe that the 2019 Ariya Repete will be the best ever, which is why we are taking the experience to TV, to show all of Africa that Goldberg Lager believes and celebrates the amazing indigenous talents from southwestern Nigeria.”

 

The regional auditions are set to kick-off on the 11th of June as Goldberg takes the auditions and selection parties to 8 western cities in two weeks.

 

The selected talents will then head down to Lagos for mentorship sessions by some of the respected acts in their genres before returning to the contest to slug it in the quarterfinals from 5th of July.

 

The Semi-Final will be hosted on the 12th of July while the grand finale is slated for 19th of July.

 

Ariya Repete is proudly sponsored by Goldberg lager; Goldberg lager is renowned for conceptualizing and executing initiatives such as these, which highlights the beauty of tradition and culture.

 

With a wide array of exciting consumer engagement activities that brilliantly connects with its ever-loyal audience, Goldberg continues to remain one of the most authentic brands in the beer industry.

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New Access to Premium Local TV Channels Enabled via Satellite Debuts

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Nigeria’s latest free-to-air (FTA) local channel bouquet, “PREMIUM.FREE”, has enabled local television broadcast audiences access to 13 new premium channels which are custom-made for African viewers. These include multinational language channels like Cinema Hausa, and popular African lifestyle channels such as True African.

Delivered via SES satellites, this innovative channel bouquet is supplied by AfricaXP, the leading independent African network, which is well-known for its compelling Nollywood catalogue and longstanding partnerships with prominent West African producers.

Craig Kelly, CEO of AfricaXP, says that working with SES has enabled PREMIUM.FREE to achieve the maximum possible reach in Nigeria. “We are confident that localization, coupled with our fresh international rights will provide the kind of content blend that modern West African audiences demand. Transmitted free-to-air via satellite, this is obviously a great offer at a price point that can’t be beaten.”

It is this blend of premium African programming with top-flight international content across a diverse range of themes from sports to movies, telenovelas, kids, factual, reality and lifestyle programming, which really sets PREMIUM.FREE apart from other channel bouquet offerings on the market.

SES, the world’s leading satellite operator with over 70 satellites, reaches over 9 million Direct-to-Home households across West Africa from its orbital position of 28.2 degrees East. Those households with existing FTA set-top boxes (STBs) will be able to start watching the new channels on their existing STBs for free.

“The Nigerian FTA market in particular offers great opportunities for growth, and we are proud to have engaged with PREMIUM.FREE to deliver a differentiated content package for Nigeria and offer more choice for viewers,” says Clint Brown, Vice President of Sales and Market Development, Africa for SES Video.

“New initiatives like this, which focus on delivering local and international content that is attractive for the end-consumer and is offered in high picture quality, will further develop consumer choice in Nigeria,” Brown concludes.

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