June 16, 2009

Akunyili has no power to void NCC licences —Aondoakaa

ABUJA—Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Michael Aondoakaa may have advised President Umaru Yar’Adua that the Minister of Information and Communications, Professor  Dora Akunyili, is not vested with the powers by the nation’s laws to cancel licences issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), , in what may pave the way for the resolution of the impasse that trailed last month’s sale of three slots of 2.3GHz spectrum by the telecoms regulator.

According to a posting on Technology Times portal,, it gathered that President Yar’Adua waded in to resolve the exchanges between Akunyili and the Executive Vice- Chairman/Chief Executive, NCC, Mr. Ernest Ndukwe, over the sale of the frequency slots to three companies- Mobitel Nigeria Ltd, Spectranet Ltd. and Multi-links Telkom Ltd for N4.104billion.

Following his intervention, Yar’Adua had sought legal interpretation of the matter against applicable laws when he asked Aondoakaa and Aso Rock counsel to review the transaction.

Akunyili had ordered the frequency spectrum sold for N1.368 billion each be cancelled over allegations that NCC did not follow due process in the sale of the frequency spectrums used for offering WiMAX services.

Akunyili’s controversial stance that the allegedly flawed process that led to the offer of licences by NCC be declared invalid, the sale cancelled and revenue of N4.104bn generated refunded to the three companies had pitted her against Ndukwe after she petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  (EFCC), to investigate NCC.

It was learnt that Aondoakaa had sent a memo to the President that Akunyili had no powers under the law to cancel the licence sale in what watchers of the lingering face-off between Akunyili and Ndukwe said was likely to inform Yar’Adua’s resolution on the matter.

Impeccable sources told Vanguard that the AGF’s position is that the law is on the side of Ndukwe as there was no irregularity in the process with an addendum that hapless investors cannot be punished for the internal problems between NCC and the ministry in the event of the cancellation being canvassed by Akunyili.

Attention of senior government officials is now focused for today when it is highly anticipated that the President’s final decision on the matter will be made public.

Also, insiders reckoned that Ndukwe is awaiting decision by Yar’Adua at the end of today’s Federal Executive Council meeting, and depending on which way his decision swings; the former may decide to resign or complete his term which ends in the first quarter of 2010 as head of NCC.

If the President cancels the licence sale, Ndukwe may throw in the towel to send signals that the transaction was conducted transparently as the telecoms regulator had insisted all along.