Alleged financial malfeasance running into billions of naira has been uncovered in the joint venture operations between the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and a Chinese Satellite Pay TV, StarTimes.
The discovery was made by the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning, which is currently considering the details of the 2021-2023 MTEF & FSP documents, and scrutinising the spending and expenditure of the Nigerian Television Authority for 2021.
Report said the Senate was shocked that the multi-billion naira deal with StarTimes was not captured in the documents NTA’s Director General, Mallam Mohammed Yakubu submitted to it.
It happened that the Chairman of the Senate Panel, Solomon Olamilekan asked why NTA was blocking StarTimes from being registered with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Responding, Yakubu denied the allegation; stressing that NTA couldn’t have blocked StarTimes as it was currently in a Joint Venture Agreement with the company.
The DG’s statement prompted further questions from the Senate Panel as they asked to know how much NTA had earned from the Joint Venture with StarTimes over the years.
The Senate Panel suspicious at that point demanded to see records of what NTA generates from production, adverts and documentaries.
It also asked that NTA should return on Monday with its debt profile containing the names of its debtors, the date, and amount incurred as well as the name of the official who authorised it for publication.
The NTA entered the Joint Venture with StarTimes in 2010 with a sharing ratio of 70-30 in favour of the Beijing based company.
Irked by NTA’s outing, the panel ordered that henceforth all revenue generating agencies of government should remit all their earnings into the Consolidated Revenue Funds out of which their cost of collection will be given to them. This, the panel said will shore up revenue for government as well as block wastages in the system.